David Price, Jonny Venters Win MLB Comeback Player of the Year Awards

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: David Price of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with The Commissioner's Trophy during the first quarter of the game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden on November 1, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price and Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jonny Venters have been named the American League and National League Comeback Players of the Year, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. 

After making just 11 starts in 2017 due to injury, Price returned in 2018 and was excellent, finishing 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 177 strikeouts in 176 innings. Perhaps more importantly, he erased the narrative that he couldn't come up clutch in the postseason, going 3-1 this October with a 3.46 ERA and 1.15 WHIP as the Red Sox won the World Series.

In the postseason, Price made a relief appearance in Game 3 before getting the start in the decisive Game 5, pitching seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. 

"He joined us because he wanted to be part of what we had, and that is something that's been on his back," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said after Game 5, per ESPN.com. "You know he can do it, but it's nice to get it off his back."

Venters, meanwhile, hadn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012 and has undergone four surgeries on his elbow in his career, including three Tommy John procedures. Making it back at all was an accomplishment, but Venters was solid in 22 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays and 28 appearances for Atlanta, finishing 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 34.1 innings.

Mark Bowman @mlbbowman

Jonny Venters is the National League's Comeback Player of the Year. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this award should now be named in his honor on an annual basis.

Grant McAuley @grantmcauley

We get lost in the numbers sometimes (many times) in baseball, but the statistics aren't the story with Jonny Venters. Not even close. The mere fact he made it back was worth celebrating. And as an added bonus, he did pretty damn well for himself once on the mound. #Braves

He provided the Braves' bullpen with a nice boost down the stretch, helping the team to end a four-year playoff drought. Venters likely would have earned this award even if he had struggled, given the circumstances of his return, but his ability to be a productive reliever after such a long time away from the game was remarkable.