The 32-year old right-hander, Jeremy Jeffress, arguably pitched one of his best seasons in the big leagues this past season.
In his first year on the North Side, Jeffress pitched tremendously game in and game out. As a result, he was listed as a finalist for the National League Reliever of the Year award in 2020. Although he didn’t win the award, his contribution to Chicago this past season did not go unnoticed.
The award was given to the rookie sensation, Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers, who had a phenomenal season as well. Let’s take a deep dive into both Williams and Jeffress’ numbers to see if the baseball committee made the right choice.
Jeffress was absolutely unstoppable for the Cubs this past season, a major force to be reckoned with.
After spending three seasons with the Brewers, he decided to come to Chicago on a one year, $850k contract.
Jeffress led the Cubs in many statical pitching categories. He led the team in saves, ERA and WHIP. He also led the bullpen in wins.
On the season, Jeffress was 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA. He also finished with a WHIP of 0.94 and had eight saves. He appeared in 22 of 60 regular-season games and finished 15 of those games.
In 23 1/3 innings of work out of the bullpen for Jeffress, he was the Cubs’ most dominant relief pitcher.
What a year from the rookie pitcher for Milwaukee. He arguably pitched the best season in major league history for a rookie relief pitcher.
He is the first rookie and the first pitcher without a save in MLB history to win the reliever of the year award.
With Josh Hader as the set closer for the Brewers, Williams never had the opportunity to close a game out. However, his eight-inning appearances made it hard on hitters to get past the one-two punch of Williams and Hader.
For starters, he led the Brewers bullpen in ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, innings pitched and wins.
On the season, Williams was 4-1 with.a 0.33 ERA. He also finished with a WHIP of 0.63 and struck out 53 batters.
With those numbers, it’s hard not to give the award to the rookie. He was a solid asset for the Brewers out of the bullpen all year long. His 27 innings, most on the team, showed just how valuable he was for their playoff push.
Did Williams Deserve the Award?
Williams finished the season with the best numbers amongst the other relief pitchers nominated for the award as well. The other two nominees were Jeffress and Trevor Rosenthal.
Williams led all three nominees in ERA (0.33), WHIP (0.63), strikeouts (53), hits allowed (8), innings pitched (27), hits per nine innings (2.7), home runs per nine innings (0.3), strikeouts per nine innings (17.7) and tied Jeffress for most wins (4).
The Brewers pitcher was most deserving of the award. He led the majority of categories against the other finalists. For Williams to only give up one earned run in 27 innings of work, that set him apart from the others.
Williams will look to work off his remarkable season and help the Brewers be more productive in the bullpen in 2021.
Featured Image Courtesy of The Daily Herald