Mariners Edwin Diaz Notches Fifth Place In AL ROY Vote
The American League Rookie of the Year vote is in, and Mariners fans should feel proud that their explosive, young closer, Edwin Diaz impressed the Baseball Writers of America to notch enough votes to finish fifth in their rankings.
It was hard to find a player, commentator or fan of baseball that wasn’t impressed by Edwin Diaz last season.
After making the huge jump from AA Jackson all the way to the major leagues midway through the year, Diaz didn’t hesitate to show off his talent. Despite his rocky end to the season, Diaz shined, and even outperformed expectations month after month.
With only a few hiccups in between his stellar shutout debut and his end of the year mini collapse, Diaz grabbed the attention of the BBWAA, as he helped the Mariners to a playoff push.
In total Diaz earned four, third place votes for his great effort. His eighteen saves were the most by any AL rookie pitcher in this season. In fact, it was so much more that the next closest reliever had three saves.
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Only three rookie relievers had more total strikeouts than Diaz, but they all pitched at least thirteen more innings.
But those men weren’t fanning opposing batters in the way that Diaz was. This is what made Diaz stand out not just as a rookie, but as one of the most feared pitchers in the game.
Despite only reaching the mid-nineties with his fastball in the minors, Diaz quickly ramped up his heat into the low hundreds as early as his debut. He would eventually top out at one hundred and two MPH on the season.
Few pitchers in the league were cracking one hundred, but other rookies? Forget about it.
He used that heat to fan his first fifty men in just 25.1 innings. That’s mind-boggling. He would finish the year with eighty-eight K’s in 51.2 innings, calculating to 15.5 K/9. These shocking numbers helped power him to an ERA of 2.79 by season’s end.
Mariners closer Edwin Diaz finished in tie for fifth in AL Rookie of Year voting by BBWAA writers. pic.twitter.com/uKUjunL0R2
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) November 14, 2016
Of course, if he hadn’t begun a downward spiral at the end of the season, he may have gotten more votes or even finished better than fifth. In his last five games, Diaz allowed five runs in 6.2 innings. That lead to two Mariners blown saves and one Mariners loss.
On a personal note, he would statistically have an ERA of 6.75 during that span, although he kept up his strikeout pace, K-ing eleven in that time or nearly two batters per inning.
In the end, whether he placed fifth or first, Diaz proved (in just half a season) that he is and will be a force to reckoned with for years to come. It is not hard to believe that getting a taste of a potential trophy won’t push him to want to earn similar hardware in the future.