Jason Grilli of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been selected as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for April, it was announced today. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.
In 12 appearances in April, Grilli posted a 0.82 ERA while converting each of his 10 save opportunities. In 11.0 innings pitched, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits with four walks and 17 strikeouts, and he did not factor in a decision during the month. Grilli, the fourth overall selection in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft (by San Francisco), became the second Pirates pitcher to record 10 saves during the month of April, joining Mike Williams, who accomplished the feat in 2002. In addition, his 10 saves were tied with Baltimore's Jim Johnson, San Francisco's Sergio Romo and Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees for the most in the Majors during the opening month. The 36-year-old recorded saves on back-to-back days four times in April: April 8th-9th at Arizona; April 12th-13th vs. Cincinnati; April 20th-21st vs. Atlanta; and April 23rd-24th at Philadelphia. In six appearances from April 17th-24th, the Seton Hall University product did not allow a hit while walking one and striking out eight over 5.1 innings pitched. On April 20th against the visiting Atlanta Braves, the 11-year veteran struck out the side in order to collect his sixth save of the season. Entering play on Friday, Jason has an ERA of 0.75 with a league-leading 11 saves and 18 strikeouts over 12.0 innings pitched. Grilli, the son of former Major Leaguer Steve Grilli, becomes the third Pirates hurler to win a Delivery Man of the Month Award, joining Jose Mesa (April 2005) and Joel Hanrahan (June 2011).
Other relievers receiving votes included the aforementioned Johnson (14 G, 1-2, 0.64 ERA, 10 SV, 14.0 IP, 12 SO); Rivera (11 G, 1.74 ERA, 10 SV, 10.1 IP, 11 SO); and Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (11 G, 1.69 ERA, 9 SV, 10.2 IP, 15 SO).