The IBWAA Hoyt Wilhelm Award is for the best relief pitcher in the National League. While the National League has had a number of good relievers this past season, there have been three clear standouts over the course of the season that deserves this award:
1st – Addison Reed
Given how Terry Collins has ridden his two best bullpen guys all season, this was a toss up between the two of them. Looking at the numbers, Reed just had a better season.
Time and again, Collins has leaned on Reed in the high leverage eighth inning of games to preserve the Mets lead. For a vast majority of the time, Reed has done that in impressive fashion. In 80 appearances, Reed is 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA, a 0.940 WHIP, a 10.5 K/9, 209 ERA+, and a 1.98 FIP. Those 78 appearances are the third most in the majors (and National League). His 1.97 ERA is fifth among National League relievers with at least 60 innings pitched. His 2.9 WAR is the highest among relievers. His WHIP ranks fifth among relievers. By the way, Reed has made more appearances than the pitchers that are ahead of him in those categories.
This all speaks to how exceptional Reed has been in his role as the Mets eighth inning guy. In fact, Reed’s 40 holds this season is the most in the majors. In fact, it is 10 more than Kyle Barraclough who is in second place. Reed is a huge reason why the Mets are close to unbeatable when they have the lead after seven innings. In terms of a bullpen role, no one has done their job better than Reed, which is why he should be the Hoyt Wilhelm Award Winner.
2nd – Jeurys Familia
For the second straight season, Familia has been the most used, most durable, and best closer in the National League.
In 2016, Familia made more appearances, more innings pitched, and more saves than any other closer in all of baseball. His 51 saves this season surpassed Francisco Cordero and Jose Valverde for the most saves in a single season by a Dominican born pitcher. He has obliterated the Mets single season save record he once shared with Armando Benitez. Keep in mind, a large part of his breaking the save records was because Familia kept the ball in the ballpark. Over the course of the entire 2016 season, Familia has only allowed one home run.
Familia was also at his best when the Mets needed him to be at his best. With the team needing each and every win possible in August and September, Familia was as dominant as he has ever been. In that two month stretch, Familia made 27 appearances recording 14 saves with a 1.62 ERA, a 1.000 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 while limiting batters to a .186 batting average.
Overall, for the season, Familia was 3-4 with 51 saves, a 2.55 ERA, 1.210 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 161 ERA+, and a 2.39 FIP. When you put up these numbers while your manager keeps throwing you into games without giving you much time off to rest, you have been the best closer in your league. .
3rd – Seung-hwan Oh
Choosing the third reliever for this vote was a difficult task. Both Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen, who both had outstanding years again as closers for postseason teams. However, the nod here went to The Final Boss for a number of reasons.
First, Oh made the second more appearances than Melancon and Jansen. His 2.8 WAR was also the second highest WAR posted by any relief pitcher in the National League. He also helped saved a Cardinals bullpen and season by first being a dominant set-up man, and then being a dominant closer once Trevor Rosenthal went down with injury. As a closer, Oh was 4-3 with 19 saves, a 2.27 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, and an 11.3 K/9. For the season Oh made 76 appearances going 6-3 with 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA, 0.916 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 214 ERA+, and a 2.13 FIP.
With that, Oh was about as dominant a relief pitcher as there was in the National League. With him mastering multiple roles, and his stepping up to fill a huge void for a Cardinals team in the thick of the Wild Card race, he deserves the last spot on the ballot.