Liam Hendriks, Devin Williams Named 2020 Relievers of the Year Presented by The Hartford

·6-min read

Panel of Seven Former Relief Pitchers Select Winners for Seventh-Straight Year

Liam Hendriks of the Oakland Athletics is the winner of the 2020 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award, and rookie Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers is the winner of the 2020 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced today. Williams has become the first rookie and the first pitcher without a save ever to earn either the Hoffman or Rivera Award.

"Honored is an understatement," said Hendriks. "It’s humbling to win an award that bears the name of the greatest closer in history. I’m extremely thankful to my teammates. If they weren’t behind me on the field, I wouldn’t be half the pitcher I am today. A huge thank you to the bullpen for sharing years of invaluable advice and experience with me. Thank you to the coaching staff and the entire organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play in the green and gold. To my agency, MVP, for all the work you do behind the scenes. A huge thank you to Codify for keeping me ahead of the game. A sincere thank you to the panel of voters. To be recognized by your greatness is a true honor. Finally, to A’s fans everywhere, I’ve had the privilege to represent you since I arrived here five years ago and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

"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 Rivera and Hoffman Awards, which debuted in the 2014 season, was conducted among a panel of seven 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 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 AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.

In his 10th Major League season and his fifth with the A’s, Hendriks posted a 1.78 ERA in his 24 games. In 25.1 innings pitched, he allowed just 14 hits and three walks (0.67 WHIP) while striking out 37. The native of Perth, Australia collected a 3-1 record and saved 14 games for the American League West Champion A’s. In Game Three of Oakland’s Division Series against the Houston Astros, the 31-year-old Hendriks pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts to earn the win, keeping the A’s season alive. Hendriks was the runner-up to Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees for the 2019 Rivera Award, in a season in which he set an A’s record with 122 strikeouts as a reliever, ahead of Hall of Famers Fingers and Eckersley.

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 27.0 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 20.0 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 27th) and none thereafter, which included a span of holding opponents hitless in 31 straight at-bats from August 14th-September 11th. The Brewers have now won three consecutive Hoffman Awards, as Williams’ teammate Josh Hader was the recipient in both 2018 and 2019.

The AL relievers who were runners-up were Alex Colomé (2-0, 0.81 ERA, 12 saves, 22.1 IP, 13 H, 8 BB, 16 SO) of the Chicago White Sox and Brad Hand (2-1, 2.05 ERA, 16 saves, 22.0 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 29 SO) of the Cleveland Indians. 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.

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. These awards continue a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers. The winners have been:

Year

Rivera AL Reliever of the Year

Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year

2014

Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals

Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

2015

Andrew Miller, New York Yankees

Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates

2016

Zack Britton, Baltimore Orioles

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

2017

Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

2018

Edwin Díaz, Seattle Mariners

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

2019

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

2020

Liam Hendriks, Oakland Athletics

Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers

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Contacts

Michael Teevan or David Hochman, Major League Baseball, (212) 931-7878, mlbpressbox.com, @MLB_PR
Jeffrey Welch, The Hartford, Jeffrey.Welch@thehartford.com, @TheHartford_PR