Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon have been named the recipients of the 2016 American League and National League Comeback Player of the Year Awards, respectively, Major League Baseball announced today. The announcement was made earlier this afternoon on MLB Network's MLB Now. 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).
In his second season with the Red Sox, Porcello was a model of consistency, helping Boston to its second AL East crown in four seasons (also 2013). The right-hander went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA over a career-high 33 starts to claim the AL Cy Young Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The 27-year-old is the only AL pitcher to record at least 27 starts in each of the last eight seasons (2009-16). His 22 victories led the Majors, and were the most by a Red Sox pitcher since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez went 23-4 in 1999. Porcello, who went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA in 2015, tossed 223.0 innings in 2016, permitting 78 earned runs on 193 hits with 32 walks and 189 strikeouts. The New Jersey native also led the Majors with a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the seventh-highest ratio by a Red Sox pitcher in the last 100 years. The 27th overall selection in the 2007 MLB Draft (by Detroit) ranked second in the AL in quality starts (26) and WHIP (1.01); tied for third in complete games (3); was fourth in innings pitched; fifth in ERA; sixth in opponents' batting average (.230); and eighth in strikeouts. His 1.01 WHIP was the lowest by a Boston pitcher since Martinez (0.92) and Derek Lowe (0.97) in 2002. Dating back to August 2015, Porcello has pitched at least 5.0 innings in each of his last 41 starts, marking the longest active streak in the AL. The only other Red Sox pitchers since 1913 with longer streaks are Curt Schilling (74 from 2004-06), Luis Tiant (56 from 1973-74) and Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (42 from 1917-19).
Rendon, in his fourth Major League season, hit .270 with 20 home runs and a career-best 85 RBI over 156 games played. The 26-year-old was limited to just 80 games in 2015 after suffering a pair of injuries that caused him to miss a collective three months of the regular season. At the plate in 2016, Rendon also collected 153 hits, 91 runs scored, 38 doubles, two triples and 12 stolen bases, while drawing a career-best 65 walks. He also added a .348 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage to help the Nationals win the NL East for the second time in three seasons (also 2014). Rendon, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, recorded 52 RBI in the second half of the season, which ranked fifth in the NL during that time. The Rice University product, who led all NL third basemen in doubles, also ranked first in the NL at the "hot corner" with a .976 fielding percentage. In addition, Rendon paced the Nationals in runs scored, was second on the club in hits and doubles, and was third in RBI. The Houston, Texas native recorded his 500th career hit on September 27th at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rendon compiled 29 two-out RBI on the season, and his 23 RBI in the month of September marked a career-best for a single month during his career.
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); Casey McGehee and Chris Young (2014); and Prince Fielder and Matt Harvey (2015).