With a month to go in the season, some players have distanced themselves in award races. Many are considering Josh Hader the favorite for the Trevor Hoffman Award. However, Tyler Rogers deserves some consideration for the award. You probably have seen Rogers appear on Pitching Ninja’s Twitter account throughout this season, and there are numbers to back up how filthy he is.
The Case for Tyler Rogers
For the second straight year, Tyler Rogers leads the National League in appearances. Last year, his earned run average was a subpar 4.50 and his walks plus hits per inning pitched was 1.321. This year, however, the submarining Rogers sports a sterling 1.75 ERA and a 0.970 WHIP across 67 innings. In 2020, opponents hit .277 against Rogers with a .711 OPS. This season, he has held batters to just a .226 batting average and an anemic .563 OPS. Rogers has also walked just 3.4 percent of his opponents and allowed just four home runs (0.5 HR/9). He also boasts a very strong 60.0 ground-ball percentage. While he’s primarily served as Jake McGee‘s primary set-up man, Rogers has racked up 12 saves on the year.
While his surface numbers are fantastic, Rogers’s underlying metrics are also impressive. He ranks in the top eight percent in HardHit% (30.7%) and wOBA (.248), the top six percent in xSLG (.289), and the top four percent in xERA (2.58), xWOBA (.247), and xWOBACON (.275). Rogers also ranks in the top three percent in average exit velocity (85.2 mph) and the top one percent in barrel percentage (2%) and walk rate (3.4%). Rogers’ best pitch has been his slider, which he throws 41.7% of the time. Opponents have hit a paltry .120 against it with just a .150 xBA and .224 xSLG. Rogers’ slider also averages 13.1 inches of break, making it nearly impossible to barrel up.
The Case Against Rogers
There isn’t much to nitpick here, but there are a few reasons Rogers could lose votes. As mentioned earlier, Rogers is not his team’s closer. While Devin Williams won this award last year despite not even registering a save, most past winners have been closers.
Unlike many relievers, Rogers is not a fireballer or a strikeout artist. His fastball averages just 82.5 mph and he’s only registered 45 strikeouts (6.0 K/9), fanning just 17.2% of his opponents. For reference, Josh Hader has struck out 85 batters in just 48.2 innings (15.5 K/9) with a startling 45.4 strikeout rate. Rogers’s whiff percentage registers in the bottom one percent of MLB and his strikeout rate is in just the 10th percentile.
Verdict: Rogers Deserving of Votes
While he may not be a conventional reliever, voters need to show Tyler Rogers some love. He is having a fantastic season and has made great strides. Rogers is a big reason why the Giants have been successful in 2021, and it would not be too outlandish if he receives some down-ballot MVP and Cy Young votes.
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