Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams won the National League Rookie of the Year award on Monday night.
Featuring a devastating changeup and a four-seam fastball that gets into the upper 90s, Williams was practically unhittable during the pandemic-shortened season. The 26-year-old right-hander went 4-1 with a microscopic 0.33 ERA, striking out 53 in just 27 innings.
Williams is the first pitcher to win the award without recording a save or making a start during his award-winning season — reflecting the increased importance of the bullpen in today’s game. He is the first reliever to take home the honor in either league since Craig Kimbrel did so for Atlanta in 2011, and the first Rookie of the Year for Milwaukee since Ryan Braun in 2007.
“I don’t really think that saves are the end-all be-all,” Williams said on a conference call during a vacation in Jamaica. “If I come up in the seventh inning and I go through one through five, I think that that can be pretty valuable, as well.”
San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm finished tied for second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Williams allowed just one run in 27 innings in the shortened season and struck out 53% of the batters he faced, the highest percentage in MLB history by a pitcher with at least 20 innings pitched.
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