Reliever of the Year Predictions
1st place: Taylor Rogers – Minnesota Twins
2nd place: Nick Anderson – Tampa Bay Rays; 3rd place: Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
Fun fact: Since the current iteration of the Reliever of the Year award was founded in 2014, the saves leader in the American League has only won the award in two of the six seasons. They were Zach Britton with Baltimore in 2014 and Edwin Diaz with Seattle in 2018.
That’s how I am justifying not putting Aroldis Chapman at the top of this prediction. If I were a betting man, I would put money on him, leading the AL in saves, plus being in a big market with a great team can never hurt. But these are my predictions, and I need to get a little wonky at times to stay on brand.
I originally had Nick Anderson at the top of this list. Still, I think the Rays see him as their best reliever, and I can see him pitching in any number of situations. This versatility could result in Anderson not piling up enough saves to catch the voter’s eyes.
He was lights out during the second half of 2019 with Tampa Bay. Anderson was traded from Miami and struck out 41 batters in 21 1/3 innings. If he can continue to build off that, he will become the Josh Hader of the American League.
That brings us to the award winner: Taylor Rogers. I wouldn’t blame the casual baseball fan for not knowing who he is, but he’s the closer for a Minnesota team that will be battling with the Cleveland Indians for the AL Central title all season. Vegas has the Twins over/under for wins set at 90.5, and I expect Rogers to be closing the majority, if not all, of their games this season.
Over the past two seasons, Rogers has tallied a 2.62 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, and 2.59 FIP with a 30.7 percent strikeout rate and a 5.0 percent walk rate. Those numbers put him in elite company with himself. I expect Rogers to continue that trend this year earn the Reliever of the Year award for a Twins team in the thick of a playoff chase.