Halifax County High School alum and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was one of three relief pitchers in the National League to be nominated for reliever of the year on Monday.
Jeffress, along with the Milwaukee Brewers Devin Williams and the San Diego Padres Trevor Rosenthal were nominated for the award and the winner will be announced before game four of the World Series, which is scheduled for Saturday night.
The Brewers released Jeffress at the end of the 2019 season after a subpar year where he also battled injuries; the Cubs signed him to a one-year deal for $850,000 plus incentives. Jeffress was signed to be the set up man for all-star closer Craig Kimbrel, but after Kimbrel had a wide array of struggles throughout the season, Jeffress stepped up to assume the closers role for the Cubs.
Jeffress appeared in 22 games this season for the Cubs and pitched 23.1 innings, posting a 1.54 ERA with 17 strikeouts. He gave up only 10 hits and allowed five runs throughout the season and posted eight saves.
His 23.1 innings pitched for the Cubs was the most in the entire bullpen. Only two relievers in the National League pitched at least 20 innings and had a better ERA than Jeffress. When the game was on the line and the Cubs needed a big out they turned to Jeffress consistently throughout the season.
The other contenders for the award posted really great numbers as well. Williams pitched 27.0 innings for the Brewers posting a 0.33 ERA with a staggering 53 strikeouts.
Rosenthal appeared in 23 games for the Padres, pitching 23.2 innings with a 1.90 ERA and 38 strikeouts and 11 saves.
While Jeffress status with the Cubs remains up in the air, having a season as productive as he had and being nominated for NL reliever of the year, it won’t take long for a team looking for bullpen help to snatch Jeffress up this offseason.