Liam Hendriks, Josh Hader Named MLB's 2021 MLB Relievers of the Year

Doric SamNovember 11, 2021

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12:  Liam Hendriks #31 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the 8th inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 12, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

MLB announced the winners of the Reliever of the Year Award on Wednesday.

In the American League, Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks took home the honors for the second consecutive season. The National League recipient is Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader, who won the award for the third time in his career.


These two pitchers dominated out of the pen in 2021.<br><br>The Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year: Liam Hendriks!<br>The Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year: Josh Hader! <a href="https://t.co/GjBFc3usg6">pic.twitter.com/GjBFc3usg6</a>

Hader earned the honors in 2018 and 2019 and is now the first-ever three-time winner since the award's inception in 2014. At 27 years old, he has established himself as one of the best relievers in all of baseball since joining the Brewers in June 2017.

Hader finished with 34 saves and a career-best 1.23 ERA this past season. He was lights-out after the midway point of the year, as he didn't allow a run after July 28. Hader held opponents to a .126 batting average, the best among relievers by 22 points.

Hendriks signed the biggest contract for a reliever in average annual value last winter at three years and $54 million, and he proved that he was worthy of every penny. The 32-year-old led the AL with 38 saves and had a 2.54 ERA. His 2.7 WAR last season was the best among all MLB relievers, per FanGraphs.

The White Sox added another All-Star closer to their bullpen at this year's trade deadline, acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago Cubs. While Kimbrel didn't work out as a setup man, Hendriks remained a consistent force on the back end of the bullpen. He helped lead the White Sox to their first AL Central title since 2008.

Per MLB.com, the Reliever of the Year Awards are voted on by former relievers Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner.