ZACH BRITTON, KENLEY JANSEN NAMED 2016 RELIEVERS OF THE YEAR
MLB and The Hartford Honor Orioles Closer with Mariano Rivera AL Award; Dodgers Stopper Earns Trevor Hoffman NL Award
CHICAGO – Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles is the recipient of the 2016 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the winner of the 2016 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced today. The announcement was made at a press conference before Game Four of the World Series, which was attended by the winners as well as Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Hoffman, Rivera and Doug Elliot, president of The Hartford.
In his sixth Major League season – which was his third as the Orioles’ closer – Britton assembled a 0.54 ERA, converted all of his 47 save opportunities and posted a 2-1 record in 69 games. In 67.0 innings, the 28-year-old southpaw surrendered just 38 hits – including a single home run – and 18 walks, while striking out 74 batters. Opponents batted a meager .162 and slugged .209 against the two-time AL All-Star this season. Britton, a third-round pick by Baltimore in the 2006 MLB Draft, helped the Orioles secure an American League Wild Card berth this season, their third Postseason appearance in the last five years. The groundball-inducing specialist earned the save in the AL’s 4-2 victory in the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other pitchers in Major League history have posted an ERA below 1.00 in a season with at least 40 saves: Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley with the 1990 Oakland Athletics (0.61, 48 saves) and Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 (0.60, 48 saves).
Jansen fashioned a 3-2 mark and a 1.83 ERA in collecting 47 saves in 71 games for the Dodgers, the NL West Champions for a fourth consecutive year in 2016. In 68.2 innings, the 29-year-old fanned 104 batters and yielded only 35 hits and 11 walks, resulting in a Major League-best WHIP of 0.67. The Curaçao native owned the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the National League (9.45). The first-time All-Star in 2016 limited opposing hitters to a .150 batting average, the best mark for any reliever in the Majors, as well as .252 slugging. During the campaign, the former catcher – who has competed for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the two most recent World Baseball Classics (2009 and 2013) – also established new Dodger franchise marks in saves, finishing the year with 189 after surpassing Eric Gagné (161), and strikeouts as a reliever, with his 632 eclipsing Jim Brewer’s mark of 604. Jansen anchored a Dodger bullpen that combined to set a franchise record with 590.2 innings pitched and 607 total appearances, both of which led the Majors.The 6’5” right-hander holds a 2.20 career ERA in his seven Major League seasons.
“Congratulations to Zach Britton and Kenley Jansen for their outstanding performances this season,” said The Hartford’s President Doug Elliot. “Zach and Kenley consistently deliver for their teams during the biggest moments of a game. At The Hartford, we are committed to doing the same for our customers by ensuring they prevail when the unexpected happens.”
Balloting for the Rivera and Hoffman Awards, which debuted in the 2014 season, was conducted among a panel of eight 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 three Hall of Fame relief pitchers – Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter – and Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. The panel includes the six all-time saves leaders who are no longer active players. The eight voters ranked the top three AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.
The AL relievers who were the runners-up are Cleveland Indians left-hander Andrew Miller (70 G, 10-1, 1.45 ERA, 12 saves, 74.1 IP, 42 H, 9 BB, 123 SO, 0.69 WHIP), who was the winner of the 2015 Rivera Award, and right-hander Roberto Osuna (72 G, 4-3, 2.68 ERA, 36 saves, 74.0 IP, 55 H, 14 BB, 82 SO, 0.93 WHIP) of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The NL relievers who were the runners-up are Washington Nationals right-hander Mark Melancon (75 G, 2-2, 1.64 ERA, 47 saves, 71.1 IP, 52 H, 12 BB, 65 SO, 0.90 WHIP), who was the recipient of the 2015 Hoffman Lee Smith Award, and right-hander Jeurys Familia (78 G, 3-4, 2.55 ERA, 51 saves, 77.2 IP, 63 H, 31 BB, 84 SO) of the New York Mets.
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, and have continued a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers. The inaugural winners in 2014 were Kimbrel, then of the Atlanta Braves, in the NL and Greg Holland of the Kansas City Royals for the AL. Last year’s recipients were Mark Melancon, then of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Andrew Miller, then of the New York Yankees.
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