Brewers’ Devin Williams named 2020 NL Reliever of the Year

Milwaukee pitcher wins award for 3rd straight year
The Associated Press

Milwaukee Brewers rookie Devin Williams was named the winner of the 2020 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced Saturday.

Williams became the first rookie and the first pitcher without a save ever to earn Hoffman Award.

“I am very excited to earn NL Reliever of the Year and have this prestigious award remain with the Brewers for a third straight season,” said Williams. “I want to thank the organization – particularly my manager, coaches and teammates – for all of the support. I also thank the great Brewers fans, who were watching and cheering us on from home during this unique season.”

Balloting for the award, which debuted in the 2014 season, was conducted among a panel of seven all-time great relievers in order to determine the recipients. Mariano 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 three fellow Hall of Fame relief pitchers — Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Lee Smith — as well as John Franco and Billy Wagner.

The seven voters ranked the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.

In his first full season in the majors, the 26-year-old Williams shined in his 22 appearances for the Brewers, who reached their third straight postseason in 2020. The rookie assembled a 0.33 ERA and fanned 53 batters in his 27 innings of work, in which he surrendered just one earned run on eight hits and nine walks (0.63 WHIP).

Among all Major League pitchers with at least 20 innings, the St. Louis native posted MLB’s best ERA, WHIP and opposing batting average (.090), and he tied for the Major League lead among relievers in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (17.67). His changeup emerged as one of the signature pitches in the game.

Williams allowed an earned run in the Brewers’ fourth game of the season (July 27) and none thereafter, which included a span of holding opponents hitless in 31 straight at-bats from Aug. 14-Sept. 11. The Brewers have now won three consecutive Hoffman Awards, as Williams’ teammate Josh Hader was the recipient in both 2018 and 2019.

The NL pitchers who were runners-up were Trevor Rosenthal (1-0, 1.90 ERA, 11 saves, 23.2 IP, 12 H, 8 BB, 38 SO), who joined the San Diego Padres via a trade from the Kansas City Royals in August, and Jeremy Jeffress (4-1, 1.54 ERA, 8 saves, 23.1 IP, 10 H, 12 BB, 17 SO) of the Chicago Cubs.