Should Edwin Diaz Receive MVP Votes?


Seattle Mariners closer Edwin Diaz is having an outstanding season. He earned a save in every game in a four-game weekend series against the Houston Astros in August, and now has 48 for the season and is on pace to tie Francisco Rodriguez for most saves in a single season with 62. Although Rodriguez finished 3rd in Cy Young voting that season (as well as 6th for AL MVP), Diaz could be having an even better season stats-wise.

While the Mariners are still chasing the Astros and Athletics, Diaz has been a bright spot on this team. He now has a 2.07 ERA to go with a 0.787 WHIP. He has given up 15 walks compared to 14 earned runs, and only 33 hits in his 62 innings of work. If he keeps up this pace, would it be completely crazy to toss him some Cy Young, or even MVP votes?

Comparing his season to K-Rod in 2008 is actually a close race. Rodriguez only gave up 17 earned runs in 68.1 innings, with a 2.24 ERA and 1.288 WHIP. While there isn’t much separating the two there, Rodriguez only threw 77 strikeouts during his 2008 season. Diaz has already thrown 107, and still has games left to improve on that.

Closing pitchers don’t win major awards very often. Only nine have ever won a Cy Young, the last being Eric Gagne in 2003; and only four have been MVP, last being Dennis Eckersley in 1992. If anyone has a shot at either this season, it’s Diaz. He leads the league in saves, and that’s not close either. He’s ranked 2nd in WHIP, and 3rd in save percentage and opponents batting average.

I’m not saying he should win the MVP or Cy Young award, but it would be foolish not to recognize Diaz for his incredible season. More than likely, he won’t receive any MVP votes since there are already many other strong candidates for the award, but Cy Young votes aren’t out of the question and Diaz deserves to get some. He has had one of the better seasons by a closer in recent memory, and it will mean even more if Seattle can make their first playoff appearance since 2001.



Image credit: Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

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