Since 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers have had one of their relief pitchers win the prestigious Trevor Hoffman Reliever of the Year award. Josh Hader won the award in 2018, 2019, and 2021 and Devin Williams took home the hardware after his breakout 2020 season.
This year, the Brew Crew is without Josh Hader as he was traded mid-season to the Padres. Despite having a streak of 40 consecutive scoreless innings pitched and converting on 32 consecutive saves (dating back to 2021), Hader’s struggles prior to leaving the Brewers and as a Padre have removed him from his chances of winning the Trevor Hoffman award this season.
As for Devin Williams, he is again having a tremendous season. He was nominated to the All-Star game and went through a stretch of 30 appearances where he did not allow a single earned run. Williams may not have a high saves total, but his performance this season should put him in contention for the best reliever in 2022.
Where does Brewers closer Devin Williams stand in the NL Reliever of the year award and who are the other candidates?
In the NL, the race for the highest saves total is close. However, there are some other pitching statistics aside from saves that do help separate a few pitchers from the pack.
Here are the numbers from the NL’s top relievers and saves leaders as of September 7th.
Edwin Diaz: 1.52 ERA, 53.1 IP, 29 SV, 32 SVO, 17 BB, 101 K, 0.90 WHIP,
Devin Williams: 1.72 ERA, 52.1 IP, 10 SV, 11 SVO, 25 BB, 80 K, 0.97 WHIP
Ryan Helsley: 0.98 ERA, 55.1 IP, 14 SV, 18 SVO, 17 BB, 81 K, 0.70 WHIP
A.J. Minter: 2.20 ERA, 57.1 IP, 5 SV, 9 SVO, 10 BB, 78 K, 0.89 WHIP
Kenley Jansen: 3.68 ERA, 51.1 IP, 32 SV, 38 SVO, 19 BB, 68 K, 1.11 WHIP
Taylor Rogers: 4.77 ERA, 54.2 IP, 30 SV, 38 SVO, 14 BB, 68 K, 1.17 WHIP
Daniel Bard: 2.15 ERA, 50.1 IP, 28 SV, 31 SVO, 24 BB, 54 K, 1.09 WHIP
Williams does not lead the pack in any of these statistics. He is however third in strikeouts, third in ERA, and fourth in WHIP among the players mentioned above. It is clear that he is having another strong season that should put him in the running with these other relievers.
When Williams won the Trevor Hoffman award in 2020, he struck batters out at a 53% clip and his changeup was nearly unhittable. This year, he is striking batters out 39% of the time and has used a more balanced approach between his fastball and changeup.
Opposing batters are currently hitting .090 against his fastball with just one of his six hits allowed against that pitch going for extra bases. As for the changeup, the batting average against this year is .187 with five of the 20 hits allowed going for more than a single.
What may hurt Williams the most is the fact that Edwin Diaz is having an incredible season and has separated himself from the pack. His 101 strikeouts are the most among relievers by a large margin, his ERA and WHIP are impressively low, and he is the Mets primary closer, converting 29 out of 32 save chances on the season so far.
Right now, I would say Williams sits in either second or third position in the Trevor Hoffman award race. Ryan Helsley is right there with Williams in that tier, but it is clear that Edwin Diaz has separated himself from the rest of the group.
At this point it will take a blow up month from Edwin Diaz for the Brewers and Devin Williams to have a chance at winning the Trevor Hoffman award for a fifth consecutive season.