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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

My Ballot for the IBWAA: Reliever of the Year

by Ethan Semendinger

November 29, 2023


Later today, the BBWAA will announce the AL and NL winners for the Reliever of the Year award. This is how I voted for the IBWAA:


National League:

My Ballot:

  1. David Bednar (PIT)

  2. Devin Williams (MIL)

  3. Camilo Doval (SFG)

I will admit, my pick for #1 in the reliever of the year vote is 100% a homer choice. No, I don't personally know David Bednar, nor is he from my hometown, or have I ever met the guy. However, he is the lone MLB player since 1994 to make the MLB from my alma mater (Lafayette College). And, whenever I can rep my school, I will. That being said, voting Bednar #1 is still reasonably defensible. This past season, he led the NL in saves (39) while pitching to a 2.00 ERA (222 ERA+) over 66 games, finishing 57 games, throwing 67.1 innings and notching 80 strikeouts. All of these are fantastic numbers for a reliever who needed to lock down wins for the lowly Pirates.

Behind Bednar, I voted for Devin Williams. Williams put up a fantastic season with a 1.53 ERA (282 ERA+) which seems to easily overshadow Bednar, but Williams threw only 58.2 innings over 61 games with 49 finishes and 36 saves. He did beat Bednar on strikeouts, but the difference in innings had Bednar pitching 15% more over the course of the season. To put that into other words, if they were position players, and Bednar was considered to play a full season, Williams only played in 140 games. That's a sizeable difference for such a volatile role. I'm always going to favor the player who played more.

Last, I placed Camilo Doval on my ballot with his NL-leading 39 saves and NL-leading 60 games finished on top of a 2.93 ERA (145 ERA+) over 67.2 innings in 69 games with 87 strikeouts. Another top season for a reliever, but his overall numbers were quite a bit away from the others.


American League:

My Ballot:

  1. Felix Bautista (BAL)

  2. Emmanuel Clase (CLE)

  3. Yennier Cano (BAL)

Felix Bautista easily takes the cake for the AL when it comes to the Reliever of the Year award. His 1.48 ERA (280 ERA+) over 56 games, 46 finishes, and 33 saves over 61.0 innings all paints a similar picture to Devin Williams (2nd in the NL), yet he gets the bump over him to #1-partially because the AL competition was worse- because Bautista threw 110 strikeouts. His season was also cut short at the end of August, but even so I think he made his case.

Emmanuel Clase finished 2nd to me in large parts due to his sheer amount of work, yet fell because his performance wasn't amazing. Clase pitched in 75 games, finished an MLB-best 65 games and had an MLB-best 44 saves over 72.2 innings. However, his 64 strikeouts over this time was a bit on the low-end and his 3.22 ERA (130 ERA+) was far too high to put him in the top spot.

To finish out my ballot season came another Baltimore Orioles reliever Yennier Cano. His 2.11 ERA (196 ERA+) was great over 72 games with 20 finishes and 8 saves (these numbers are so low in large part due to Bautista) over 72.2 innings. Cano had 65 strikeouts over this time too, which was solid, but again, not otherworldly. His numbers were great though.

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