LOS ANGELES — Each year during the World Series, Major League Baseball presents an award for the best reliever in each league.
- The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year
- The Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year
The 2018 winner of the Rivera award is Edwin Diaz of the Mariners. The Hoffman winner is Josh Hader of the Brewers.
Diaz, 24, comes as little surprise. Though you could create an argument for A’s closer Blake Treinen, Diaz’s 57 saves were always going to carry the day here. That tied him with Bobby Thigpen (1990) for the second-highest single-season save total of all-time, five back of Francisco Rodriguez’s 2008 record of 62.
The rest of Diaz’s line wasn’t too shabby, either. He posted a 1.96 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 124 strikeouts against only 17 walks in 73 1/3 innings. He’s the top dog here. The NL didn’t even have anyone close.
Still, there was an NL component here and the winner is a deserving Hader. He faltered some down the stretch to muddy up some insane numbers, still ended up pretty eye-popping. He had a 2.43 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 143 strikeouts against 30 walks in 81 1/3 innings. He was 6-1 with 12 saves and 21 holds. He only allowed six of his 23 inherited runners to score. The true value in Hader is something on full display in the playoffs: His ability to go multiple innings in the middle of or late in a game. He went more than one inning in 33 of his 55 appearances.
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Both Diaz and Hader are first-time winners of the award.
We’ll close with a fun tidbit. The award was established in 1976 as the Rolaids Relief Man Award. It’s traditionally given to a full-time closer. In fact, the lowest save total from a winner before this year was 20 (Bill Campbell, 1976). Hader crushes that record with 12 and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. The best reliever isn’t nearly as simple as looking at who has the most saves.
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