KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates is the winner of the 2015 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award and Andrew Miller of the New York Yankees is the recipient of the 2015 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award, Major League Baseball and presenting sponsor The Hartford announced today. The announcement was made at a press conference before Game Two of the World Series, which was attended by the winners as well as Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Hoffman, Rivera and Doug Elliot, President of The Hartford.
The 30-year-old Melancon (78 G, 3-2, 2.23 ERA, 76.2 IP, 57 H, 14 BB, 62 SO, 0.93 WHIP) completed the second All-Star season of his seven-year big-league career by leading the Majors with 51 saves and a 96.2% (51-of-53) save percentage. The right-hander’s 51 saves rank as the sixth-highest single-season total in NL history, making the Colorado native one of just 12 pitchers in Major League history to post a 50-save season. Melancon anchored a Pittsburgh bullpen that posted the lowest ERA (2.64) in all of Major League Baseball en route to its third consecutive Postseason appearance. The Pirates also collected a Major League-best record of 36-17 (.680) in one-run games in 2015. Melancon, a product of the University of Arizona, converted a Pirates record 35 consecutive save opportunities from April 23rd-August 15th. His 1.85 ERA in his three seasons as a Pirate since 2013 represents the second-best mark among NL relievers with at least 120 innings pitched, behind only last year’s Hoffman Award winner, Craig Kimbrel (1.77). During that same span, Pirates relievers as a whole have fashioned a National League-best 2.90 ERA.
The 30-year-old Miller (60 G, 3-2, 2.04 ERA, 61.2 IP, 33 H, 20 BB, 100 SO, 0.86 WHIP) converted 36 of his 38 save opportunities (an AL-best 94.7%) in his first season as a Yankee. The 6’7” left-hander posted an AL-best 14.59 strikeouts per nine innings in 2015. The 10-year Major League veteran limited opponents to a .151 batting average. Miller and teammate Dellin Betances both hit the 100-strikeout mark – a franchise first for relievers – as the New York bullpen set a new single-season Major League record with 596 strikeouts. Miller became the first pitcher in franchise history to convert his first 24 save chances (from April 8th-August 6th), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Since the inception of saves in 1969, this marked the third-longest save streak to begin a career with a new team, behind only Brad Lidge (first 44 save chances in 2008-2009) of the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies and Willie Hernandez (first 32 save chances) of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers, during his season in which he won both American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award honors. This was the third straight season in which Miller, a native of Gainesville, Florida, contributed to a Club that made the Postseason (previous: BOS 2013, BAL 2014). The University of North Carolina product also missed 25 games this season (June 10th-July 8th) due to a left flexor forearm muscle strain.
“When the game is on the line, teams turn to their trusted relievers to help them prevail,” said The Hartford’s President Doug Elliot. “At The Hartford, this is the role we play every day for our customers and is why we’re proud to sponsor the Reliever of the Year Awards. We congratulate Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon for their tremendous performances this season.”
The NL relievers who were the runners-up are right-handers Jeurys Familia (76 G, 2-2, 1.85 ERA, 43 saves, 78.0 IP, 59 H, 19 BB, 86 SO, 1.00 WHIP) of the New York Mets and Trevor Rosenthal (68 G, 2-4, 2.10 ERA, 48 saves, 68.2 IP, 62 H, 25 BB, 83 SO) of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The AL relievers who were the runners-up are 2015 American League All-Stars Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals (69 G, 8-1, 0.94 ERA, 17 saves, 67.1 IP, 33 H, 20 BB, 78 SO, 0.79 WHIP) and Zach Britton (64 G, 4-1, 1.92 ERA, 36 saves, 65.2 IP, 51 H, 14 BB, 79 SO, 0.99 WHIP) of the Baltimore Orioles.
Balloting was conducted among a panel of eight all-time great relievers in order to determine the recipients of the Rivera and Hoffman Awards, which debuted in the 2014 season. 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 Hall of Fame relief pitchers – Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter – and the three relievers who round out the top five in career saves – Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. The eight 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.
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, and have continued a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers. Last year’s inaugural winners were Kimbrel, then of the Atlanta Braves, in the NL and Greg Holland of the Kansas City Royals for the AL.
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