MLB Predictions for 2016 Awards
Reliever of the Year
AL: Craig Kimbrel
Stats Prediction: 45 saves, 1.80 ERA, 13.5 K/9
The new Red Sox closer should pile up plenty of saves with the support of one of the best offenses in the game. He collected 40+ saves with a sub-2.00 ERA for three straight seasons before moving to San Diego last year, where he had the worst season of his career. Yet his worst was still better than what most pitchers would consider their best. Expect him to bounce back with a minuscule ERA and one of the best strikeout rates in the league.
New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will give Kimbrel a run for his money, but his 30-game suspension will limit his innings and save opportunities. Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals will also be in the mix, but he can’t match Kimbrel’s dominant strikeout rate.
NL: Jeurys Familia
Stats Prediction: 44 saves, 2.10 ERA, 9.5 K/9
The award went to Mark Melancon last year, in part because voters overrate save totals and the Pittsburgh Pirates closer was the only pitcher in MLB to top 50 saves. Melancon had a great season, but Familia had him beat in ERA, WAR and strikeout rate.
Familia will be determined to bounce back from blowing three saves in the World Series last year, which will fuel him to another dominant season. It also doesn’t hurt his chances that top closers like Kimbrel, Chapman and Francisco Rodriguez bolted to the AL over the winter.
Next: Batting Title