I know the Kansas City BBWWAA gave their Pitcher of the Year to reliever Greg Holland. He pitched well, especially in the second half when he was healthy and when they traded closer Jonathan Broxton.
However, I’m going with the rookie in the KC Royals bullpen, Kelvin Herrera, for Reliever of the Year.
He was named to Baseball America’s All-Rookie Team as the closer. He is now seen as the possible closer of the future for the Royals. Why wouldn’t he be considered? He throws 103 mph.
Despite all his health problems prior to 2011 as a starter, Herrera moved to the bullpen in 2011 and went from High-A to the big leagues by the end of the season.
Herrera spent all of 2012 in the big leagues and appeared in the most games (76). He also had the most innings pitched out of the bullpen (84.1 innings).
Overall, he was 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA and was 3-for-4 in save opportunities. He kept the ball in the ballpark too, as he allowed just four homeruns.
However, he was better in the second half, as he settled into a late inning reliever role (all of his save opportunities came in that time period). In 36 games (forty innings), Herrera did not allow a homerun. He struck out 39 compared to just 11 walks and held a 1.58 ERA.
Those numbers were just a bit better than Holland’s and that is why I gave the award to Herrera. It will be interesting to see who gets the ball to close out games in 2013.