Pitching has always been dominant for the Milwaukee Brewers. As the regular season starts to wind down, the talks of awards/recognition begin to float around. For the last three years, the title of NL Reliever of the Year has been brought home to Milwaukee. Based on how the season is going thus far, it would be silly to give the title to someone outside of the Brewers’ organization.
The crew has a couple of options as to who could win this title, who’s most deserving?
Hader is very familiar with this title; The righty won the award in two consecutive years of 2018 and 2019. He again has been showing another rock solid year. Relievers across the league just can’t seem to match or even top what Hader is throwing when he’s on the mound. Hader did miss some time this season due to being on the COVID-IL, but he didn’t let that phase him.
If sheer dominance were to be a key determining factor in who should win, it would be Josh Hader, no question. In his five years as a major league player, Hader has been at the top. Additionally, he continues to set the standards for relievers across all of MLB.
Josh Hader has a 1.70 ERA and 0.80 WHIP with a 15.7 K/9 in just 42.1 innings of work this season. In August alone, he’s worked four scoreless innings with nine punchouts. Primarily using his 4-seam fastball at 64.6% of the time; He’s struck out 42 with that and opposing teams have a .098 BA against him.
Josh Hader, Filthy 83mph Back Foot Slider. 😷 pic.twitter.com/cwoR1aWqTQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 18, 2021
At the rate Josh Hader is going, there’s no doubt that he could potentially become a three-time recipient of the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year award. Since the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year award was given in 2014, Hader is tied with LA Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen for winning it more than once. If he were to win, Hader would be the first one in a Brewers uniform to win it three times. Rollie Fingers has won the award four times, only once in a Brewers uniform.
The reigning NL Reliever of the Year and Rookie of the Year, Devin Williams has been showing signs of his 2020 self again on the mound. Williams did show signs of struggle to begin the season, but he is surely starting to show the elite side of him and that reliever of the year form.
On the season, Devin Williams is recording a 2.28 ERA; Compared to his 0.33 ERA from last season, Williams has had more opportunities to pitch this season given that the 2020 season was shortened. In 43.1 innings of work, he’s struck out 68, and has recorded two saves.
Williams is known for having a nasty airbending pitch. His changeup has got baseball talking and pitchers have tried to replicate the pitch, but can’t seem to get it how Devin can. Williams’ changeup is thrown 62.9% of the time, resulting in 56 K’s. His fastball is thrown 34.4% of the time, but he hasn’t seen as much success with that pitch as he has with his airbending changeup. It’s important to know that Williams has gone through his last 15 innings without allowing a run.
Devin Williams, Knee-Buckling Airbenders. 🛸 pic.twitter.com/nfhRiGT0J0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 18, 2021
It would be amazing to see Williams go back-to-back, but due to that rough start of the season, it in a way hinders his chances at winning it over other Brewers relievers. However, his talent shouldn’t go unrecognized; It is unmatched, and quite amazing to be able to witness.
Whether you call him “The Raptor” or “The Vulture”, there’s no debating that Brent Suter has been the best he’s been throughout his MLB career.
Once a starter, Suter moved over to a relief position after his Tommy John surgery in 2018. Since transitioning over to a bullpen position, he’s been one of the more valuable pieces for the Brewers’ pitching.
He sits on the year with a 2.81 ERA and 1.283 WHIP with 57 strikeouts in 57.2 innings of work. In those innings, Suter has racked up a 12-5 record, nearing an MLB historic mark. The record is still held by Pittburgh’s Roy Face, who went 18-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 1959. He’s well on his way to recording 14 wins on the year if the Brewers happen to continue providing run support when he’s on the mound.
Suter relies mainly on his 4-seam fastball, throwing that 69.6% of the time followed by the curveball at 15.6%. In terms of success, the fastball has brought Suter more luck; Recording 46 punchouts with that, opposing teams are posting a .249 BA against him.
Brent Suter, High 🧀
Never make the Raptor wait.
You’re only delaying the inevitable. pic.twitter.com/lWHd7ucbej
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 3, 2021
While both Williams and Hader have greater chances at receiving the award, it’s not way out there to add Suter into that discussion. He has proven to be key with the Brewers and their success as they head into the last couple of weeks of the regular season.
If any Brewer is to win the award this season, let it be Josh Hader. Hader has proven to be the best reliever the team has in their bullpen. While Devin Williams comes in a closer second, it would just make more sense for Hader to receive the award. This team is well on its way to a championship and are determined to bring home another ring to Milwaukee.