Texas Rangers designated hitter/first baseman Prince Fielder and New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey have been named the recipients of the 2015 American League and National League Comeback Player of the Year Awards, respectively, Major League Baseball announced today. The announcement was made earlier this morning on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. The Comeback Player of the Year Awards are officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and presented annually to one player in each League who has re-emerged on the field during the season. The 30 Club beat reporters from MLB.com, the official web site of Major League Baseball, selected the winners from an original list of 30 candidates (one per MLB Club).
Harvey went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA over 29 starts this season, helping lead the Mets to their first NL East Division title since 2006 and their first World Series appearance since 2000. The right-hander, who missed the entire 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, tossed 189.1 innings, permitting 62 runs (57 earned) on 156 hits with 37 walks and 188 strikeouts while holding opposing hitters to a .222 batting average. He ranked eighth in the Majors among qualifying starters in ERA, WHIP (1.02), walks per nine innings (1.76) and strikeout to walk ratio (5.08). Harvey won his first five outings of the season, becoming the fifth pitcher in franchise history to do so, and the first since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 2006. In addition, he joined Dwight Gooden (1986 and 1989) and Armando Reynoso (1997 and 1998) as the only pitchers in Mets history to get off to a 5-0 start in multiple seasons (also 2013). The Connecticut native went 7-4 with a 2.05 ERA over his final 17 starts dating back to June 16th, marking the fourth-best ERA in the Majors over that span behind Jake Arrieta (1.07), Zack Greinke (1.47) and Clayton Kershaw (1.48). Over four August starts, the 26-year-old went 2-0 with a Major League-leading 0.33 ERA, yielding just one run over 27.0 innings. The seventh overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft now has 15 career scoreless starts, tied with Vida Blue for the second-most such starts in a pitcher’s first 65 career games over the last 100 years, trailing only Gooden (16). In that time, his 449 strikeouts are the eighth-most for any pitcher through his first 65 career starts.
Past winners of the Award include: Jason Giambi and Ken Griffey, Jr. (2005); Jim Thome and Nomar Garciaparra (2006); Carlos Peña and Dmitri Young (2007); Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge (2008); Aaron Hill and Chris Carpenter (2009); Francisco Liriano and Tim Hudson (2010); Jacoby Ellsbury and Lance Berkman (2011); Fernando Rodney and Buster Posey (2012); Liriano and Mariano Rivera (2013); and Casey McGehee and Chris Young (2014).