The biggest reason for the success of the Milwaukee Brewers this season has been their bullpen, and the most well-known name in that ‘pen is Josh Hader. The left-hander was named as a National League All-Star in 2018, and now he is being considered for more accolades based on his stellar full-season performance.
Major League Baseball has announced the finalists for this year’s “Reliever of the Year” award, which is given annually to the top relief pitcher in each league. Here is how the balloting works:
From now until 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 26 -- the date for World Series Game 3 -- you can submit a pair of names at MLB.com to determine who the fans believe should be the winners. Balloting for the awards will be conducted among a panel of eight all-time great relievers.
The eight voters rank the top three AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular-season performance and using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.
The award is presented to the winning relievers each year during the World Series and this time around, they are scheduled to be given out during game four of the Fall Classic.
This was Josh Hader’s first full season in the big leagues, and he was a revelation as a fireman out of the bullpen for Craig Counsell. He appeared in 55 games and tossed 81.1 innings, tops in the National League among relievers. He did so with a 2.43 ERA, and even that sterling total doesn’t quite do justice to his level of dominance; Hader posted a Deserved Run Average of 2.00, which rates as 56% better than league average. He set the record for most strikeouts recorded by a left-handed reliever with 143, and his 46.7% strikeout rate was seven points better than any other qualified reliever on the Senior Circuit. At one point in September, Josh struck out 16 batters in a row across five appearances, which is another record. Hader was credited with six winning decisions (against one loss), 12 saves, and 21 holds during his 55 outings.
In addition to Hader, the other NL finalists are Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Wade Davis of the Colorado Rockies. Jansen put up a 3.01 ERA and 38 saves across 69 appearances and 71.2 innings, while Davis recorded a 4.13 ERA in 58.2 innings during his first season in the Mile High City and led the National League with 43 saves. In the American League, the finalists are Edwin Diaz of the Mariners, Blake Treinen of Oakland, and Boston closer Craig Kimbrel.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus