As the post-season goes into its final leg, awards season is ramping up. Already we’ve seen Nelson Cruz (EXTEND HIM) nominated as the M’s representative for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, along with a host of Mariners winning organizational awards. However, now the big-deal stuff is upon us, and Edwin Diaz is up for one of the big-dealiest:
Game over, when these three came in.— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2018
Who do you think should win AL Reliever of the Year
presented by @TheHartford.
The announcement comes on the heels of Díaz being named to the Sporting News All-Star AL team, over Blake Treinen:
Díaz also made Yahoo’s All-MLB team, First Team.
Even without Craig Kimbrel’s well-publicized postseason collapse, he isn’t remotely in the same territory as Díaz and Kimbrel, except in number of saves. Kimbrel’s K-BB ratio is much poorer than either of the other two, however, and he allowed more home runs and had a higher ERA and FIP than Díaz and Blake Treinen. Realistically, this is a choice between those two. Treinen has the edge in ERA, although Díaz has a better FIP and a significantly better xFIP (1.78 to Treinen’s 2.42). Díaz is also the leader in K/BB ratio, collecting more strikeouts and issuing fewer walks than Treinen. In fact, Díaz’s 7.29 K/BB is best in the majors among all relievers who pitched more than 50 innings, a significantly better mark than Treinen’s 4.76. In K%, Díaz was second in all of baseball behind Milwaukee’s Josh Hader, who walked almost 10% of the batters he faced to Díaz’s 6.1%. No other elite-strikeout pitcher walked as few batters as Sugar this season.
No matter which way you tabulate, Edwin Díaz had an elite season:
Top 10 GB% + K% z-scores this year (min 40 IP)— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) October 18, 2018
1. Edwin Diaz
2. Aroldis Chapman
3. Matt Barnes
4. Dellin Betances
5. Corey Knebel
6. Zach Britton
7. Scott Alexander
8. Seranthony Dominguez
9. Ryan Pressly
10. Jeremy Jeffress
Edwin Diaz is the 6th pitcher in MLB history to have 50+ saves and a 200+ ERA+ pic.twitter.com/txhyzOloPX— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) September 6, 2018
Treinen may get votes for being on a team that made the postseason, although that may be a mixed blessing after a WC performance in which he went two innings and allowed three runs on two hits, including a home run, with two walks and no strikeouts. Treinen also has a higher WAR due to pitching more innings than Díaz, even though Díaz appeared in more games. And while Díaz was given more save opportunities, he also converted a higher percentage of those opportunities: 93% to Treinen’s 88%. It’s fair to argue that the Athletics probably don’t make the postseason without Treinen locking down the back end of games to make up for a ragtag pitching staff, and if that’s what the voting committee chooses to reward, so be it; by the numbers, however, it’s not hard to see that Díaz was the superior reliever this year.