Yankees lefty reliever Aroldis Chapman and Brewers closer Josh Hader were selected as the AL and NL Relievers of the Year on Saturday, per an official announcement from Major League Baseball. It’s the second consecutive award for Hader, who took home NL honors in 2018 as well.
Chapman, 31, improved on last year’s All-Star campaign in 2019, nearly reaching a new career high with 37 saves and posting a 2.21 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 13.4 SO/9, and 2.0 fWAR across 57 innings. He’s the second Yankees reliever to take home the award since Andrew Miller earned the distinction in 2015. No AL pitcher — or team, for that matter — has received the award in consecutive years.
Hader, 25, is the second NL hurler with back-to-back Reliever of the Year awards since Kenley Jansen in 2016-2017. He delivered another All-Star performance in 2019, tossing 75 2/3 innings in relief with 37 saves and a 2.62 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, 16.4 SO/9, and 2.3 fWAR.
Neither pitcher led their respective leagues in saves, ERA, or fWAR this year. AL runners-up included the Athletics’ Liam Hendricks (AL fWAR leader, with 3.8 Wins Above Replacement) and Astros’ Roberto Osuna (AL saves leader, with 38). NL runners-up included the Padres’ Kirby Yates and Giants’ Will Smith, the former of whom out-pitched NL relievers with 41 saves, a 1.19 ERA, and 3.4 fWAR.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.