Brewers: Two for Two? Devin Williams a Finalist for NL Rookie of the Year
Brewers reliever Devin Williams already brought home some hardware during this awards season. Now he has a chance to collect some more.
When you have the type of season that breakout Brewers relief pitcher Devin Williams had in 2020, your name gets included as a candidate for an awards finalist. In Williams’s case, there were a couple awards for which those around the league saw him as a potential contender.
The most obvious award that Williams was expected to compete for was the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year. To no one’s surprise, he was in fact named as a finalist for that award, which he ended up winning to keep the trophy in Milwaukee for a third straight year.
While Williams seemed a shoo-in for that award, another one in which he was deemed a potential finalist but would face much stiffer competition is the NL Rookie of the Year. Today, it was announced that he indeed will get a chance to double his 2020 trophy count.
Williams has a chance to become the third Rookie of the Year award winner in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history. He would join Pat Listach, who won the award in the American League in 1992, and Ryan Braun, who won it in the National League in 2007.
Unlike with the NL Reliever of the Year award, Devin Williams will be up for quite a fight for NL Rookie of the Year.
The resume of Williams (0.33 ERA, 0.630 WHIP, 17.67 K/9 for anyone who has somehow forgotten) is plenty impressive for a Rookie of the Year candidate. But he will be facing two very worthy competitors in his quest for a second 2020 honor.
San Diego Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth was a leading candidate for the award all season and is indeed a finalist. He had a .285/.354/.477 slash line over 54 games in his first year of MLB action. He finished 2020 with a 1.4 FanGraphs WAR and a 125 weighted runs created plus.
Joining the two is Philadelphia Phillies corner infielder Alec Bohm. The 2018 3rd overall pick got a slower start to his season, not making his MLB debut until August 13th. But he still finished with an impressive .338 average, .881 OPS, and 1.2 fWAR over 44 games.
As decent as those two resumes are, Williams still has a fighter’s chance to come out on top. Voters will have to consider Cronenworth’s finish to the season (.114/.225/.143 slash line over his final 11 games) and Bohm’s lack of a full season played.
Of course Williams has his own disadvantage in that as a reliever, he only played in a small percentage (36.7%) of his team’s games. But he was so dominant in those appearances that there’s at least a chance that his outstanding performance makes up for it.
The winner of the award will be announced next week on November 9th. Brewers fans will hope that the day comes with a familiar sounding announcement of a Williams award win.