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FÉLIX BAUTISTA, DEVIN WILLIAMS EARN THE 2023 RIVERA AND HOFFMAN AWARDS

Image Credit: MLB

The following was recently announced by Major League Baseball — All-Star Closer of AL East Champion Orioles Honored with Rivera Award in Unanimous Fashion; Brewers’ All-Star Stopper Becomes Sixth Ever Multi-Time Recipient of These Awards, and Milwaukee’s Fifth Hoffman Winner in Last Six Years

Félix Bautista of the Baltimore Orioles has won the 2023 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers has earned this season’s Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year honors, Major League Baseball announced today.  Bautista was a unanimous choice by the voting panel.  Williams has become the sixth multi-time recipient of these Awards, joining his former teammate Josh Hader, Edwin Díaz, Liam Hendriks, Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel.  Bautista and Williams were announced as the 2023 season’s top relievers this evening as part of MLB Network’s MLB Tonight.

Bautista dominated in 2023 with an 8-2 record and a 1.48 ERA (61.0 IP, 10 ER, 30 H, 26 BB, 0.92 WHIP) in his 56 appearances for the AL East Champion Orioles, who finished with the AL’s best record (101-61) for the first time since 1997.   The first-time All-Star in 2023 joins former Oriole Zack Britton (2016) as a winner of the Rivera Award.  The Dominican Republic native finished his second Major League season with 110 strikeouts, the third-most by an O’s reliever in team history (since 1954) and the most by a reliever this year.

Félix Bautista – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The 6’8”, 285 lb. right-hander struck out multiple batters in 38 of his 56 outings, the most multi-strikeout games by a reliever in MLB this season.  Bautista, 28, recorded the fastest strikeout pitch by an Orioles pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008) on June 28th vs. the Reds, striking out Spencer Steer at 103.3 miles per hour.  “The Mountain” earned AL Reliever of the Month honors for April, June and July.  Bautista was placed on the Injured List in late August before undergoing UCL reconstruction surgery in October.

In his first full year as the closer of the Brewers, Williams shined once again en route to his second All-Star season and his second Hoffman Award, along with 2020, when he was also the recipient of the NL’s Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award.  The St. Louis native posted an 8-3 record, a 1.53 ERA and 36 saves in his 61 games.  In his 58.2 innings pitched, the 29-year-old surrendered just 26 hits and 28 walks while fanning 87 batters.  Devin ranked among NL relief leaders in opponents’ batting average (1st, .129), H/9IP (2nd, 3.99), ERA (3rd, 1.53), K/9IP (3rd, 13.35) and WHIP (4th, 0.92).  Paired with Hader’s three Hoffman Awards (2018-19, 2021), a Brewer has now won these honors in five of the last six seasons.  Williams pitched for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, making four scoreless appearances (3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 6 SO).  Devin now sports a career record of 26-10 with a 1.89 ERA and 337 strikeouts in his 214.0 innings of work.

The AL relievers who were runners-up were All-Stars Emmanuel Clase (3-9, 3.22 ERA, 44 saves, 72.2 IP, 68 H, 16 BB, 64 SO, 1.16 WHIP) of the Cleveland Guardians, who was the 2022 recipient of the Rivera Award, and Jordan Romano (5-7, 2.90 ERA, 36 saves, 59.0 IP, 48 H, 24 BB, 72 SO, 1.22 WHIP) of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The NL pitchers who were runners-up were All-Stars David Bednar (3-3, 2.00 ERA, 39 saves, 67.1 IP, 53 H, 21 BB, 80 SO, 1.10 WHIP) of the Pittsburgh Pirates and three-time Hoffman Award recipient Josh Hader (2-3, 1.28 ERA, 33 saves, 56.1 IP, 32 H, 30 BB, 85 SO, 1.10 WHIP) of the San Diego Padres.

Balloting for the Rivera and Hoffman Awards, which debuted in the 2014 season, was conducted among a panel of six all-time great relievers in order to determine the recipients.  Rivera and Hoffman, both of whom spent their entire careers in the same League en route to the top of the all-time saves list, were joined as voters by two fellow Hall of Fame relief pitchers – Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers – as well as John Franco and Billy Wagner.  The six voters ranked the top three relief pitchers by league based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.

Bautista and Williams will each receive a special trophy that models the likeness of Rivera and Hoffman, respectively, pitching during their Hall of Fame careers.  The Rivera and Hoffman Awards replaced MLB’s “Delivery Man of the Year Award,” which was presented to one winner in all of Major League Baseball from 2005-2013. These awards continue a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers.  The winners have been:

Year Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year
2014 Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
2015 Andrew Miller, New York Yankees Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates
2016 Zack Britton, Baltimore Orioles Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
2017 Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 Edwin Díaz, Seattle Mariners Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
2019 Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
2020 Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
2021 Liam Hendriks, Chicago White Sox Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
2022 Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Guardians Edwin Díaz, New York Mets
2023 Félix Bautista, Baltimore Orioles Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers

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