Major League Baseball tonight announced that Orioles right-handed pitcher FÉLIX BAUTISTA has won the 2023 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award. He was a unanimous choice by the voting panel, which was comprised of six all-time great relievers. Bautista becomes the second Orioles player to win the award, joining left-hander ZACK BRITTON in 2016.
Bautista, 28, went 8-2 with a 1.48 ERA (10 ER/61.0 IP) and a 0.92 WHIP in his 56 appearances for the AL East Champion Orioles, who finished with the AL’s best record (101-61) for the first time since 1997. The Dominican Republic native converted 33 of his 39 save opportunities, including five of more than 1.0 inning. He led MLB relievers with 110 strikeouts, the third-most by an O’s reliever in team history (since 1954), and struck out multiple batters in 38 of his 56 outings, the most multi-strikeout games in MLB this season. Bautista recorded the fastest strikeout pitch by an Orioles pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008) on June 28 vs. Cincinnati, striking out Spencer Steer at 103.3 miles per hour.
“The Mountain” was named to his first career All-Star team and earned AL Reliever of the Month honors for April, June, and July. He was also named the Baseball Digest/eBay MLB Relief Pitcher of the Year. He was placed on the Injured List in late August before undergoing ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John) in October.
Bautista finished ahead of AL runners-up Emmanuel Clase (CLE) and Jordan Romano (TOR). Bautista and Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award winner Devin Williams (MIL) will each receive a special trophy that models the likeness of Rivera and Hoffman, respectively, pitching during their Hall of Fame careers. The Rivera and Hoffman Awards replaced MLB’s “Delivery Man of the Year Award,” which was presented to one winner in all of Major League Baseball from 2005-2013. These awards continue a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers.