Brewers: Devin “Airbender” Williams Wins NL Rookie of the Year

Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /

Before 2020, the Milwaukee Brewers franchise had two Rookie of the Year winners to their name. Now, make that three.

The awards keep pilling on for the Milwaukee Brewers young phenom relief pitcher Devin Williams. Earlier this off-season he was awarded the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award and tonight it was announced that he is the 2020 Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year!

As the recipient of the NL Reliever of the Year, it seemed inevitable to many that Williams would also win NL Rookie of the Year, but to finally hear it announced is incredible. Prior to the season starting, nobody had Williams to win any of these awards, including Devin Williams himself!

In winning the award, Williams joins Brewer greats Ryan Braun (2007) and Pat Listach (1992) as Brewers to win the award. Additionally, the Rookie of the Year award has not gone to a relief pitcher since Craig Kimbrel won it in 2011, so this is quite the accomplishment!

Recent award winners in the National League include Pete Alonso in 2019, Ronald Acuna Jr. in 2018, Cody Bellinger in 2017, Corey Seager in 2016, and Kris Bryant in 2015. Over the past decade, the National League Central now has two Rookie of the Year award winners.

In order to win the award he had to best the seasons of Alec Bohm and Jake Cronenworth, both of whom are two very skilled offensive players. In the end, Williams finished with 14 first-places vote which was five more than Bohm, who recorded the second most first place votes.

While it was a shortened 2020 season, the run Devin Williams went on is by far one of the best stretches we have ever seen. He concluded the season with 27 innings pitched, a 0.33 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, and .090 opponent batting average against. He surrendered just two hits off of his changeup and five off of his fastball all season!

His best pitch, the changeup, is by far his signature strikeout pitch. While he finished the season with a MLB record strikeout percentage of 53%, opposing batters whiffed on his changeup 61% of the time. Batters hit just .032 against that pitch and of his 53 total strikeouts this season, 41 came via the changeup. To say he was lights out would be an understatement!

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With a rather gloomy and disappointing Brewers season in 2020, Devin Williams certainly provided a bright spot and continues to do so as he keeps racking up awards. The future for Williams is bright and the future for the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen certainly looks good as well!