Rockies closer Greg Holland and Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas were named the 2017 National League and American League Comeback Player of the Year in voting by the beat reports from MLB.com. In his first season with the Rockies, Holland helped the club secured its first Postseason appearance since 2009. The 32-year-old right-hander, who missed the entire 2016 season after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery, collected 41 saves, which tied Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen for the most in the National League, and second-most in the Majors. Alex Colomé of the Tampa Bay Rays saved 47 games.
The 41 saves also tied Colorado’s single-season record originally set by Jose Jimenez in 2002. Holland appeared in 62 games and was 3-2 with a 3.61 ERA, 26 walks and 70 strikeouts over 57.1 innings pitched. Holland, who was named NL Reliever of the Month in both April and May, was selected to his third career All-Star Game (also 2014-15 with Kansas City), where he tossed a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. During his award-winning opening months of the season, the North Carolina native converted each of his 19 save opportunities, allowing just three runs with 28 strikeouts over 19.2 innings pitched (1.37 ERA).
His 11 saves in April tied a Rockies record for saves in a single month, joining Brian Fuentes (May 2011) and Huston Street (June 2009). Holland, who is the first Rockies player to win this award, converted each of his first 23 save chances on the season, posting a 1.09 ERA over 26 appearances from April 3rd-June 14th. The 10thround selection in the 2007 Draft notched his 500th Major League strikeout in his final appearance of the regular season on September 30th against the Dodgers.
Moustakas hit .272 (151-for-555) with a career-best 38 home runs, 85 RBI and 75 runs scored over 148 games in his seventh Major League season. The California native also collected 24 doubles and 34 walks to go along with a career-best .521 slugging percentage and .835 OPS. His 38 homers, which tied for fifth in the AL and eighth among all Major Leaguers, set a new Royals single-season franchise record, eclipsing Steve Balboni, who hit 36 homers in Kansas City’s World Series-winning 1985 season. Moustakas, who was limited to just 27 games in 2016 following a torn ACL, was selected to his second career All-Star Game (also 2015). The 29-year-old slugger became just the second player to earn the honor twice, joining two-time All-Star Shane Victorino.
Moustakas belted 25 home runs prior to the All-Star break, passing Jermaine Dye’s 22 first-half homers in 2000 for the most in franchise history. The 25 first-half homers were also the most by an AL third baseman before the Midsummer Classic since Miguel Cabrera had 30 in 2013. The second overall selection in the 2007 Draft fanned just 94 times on the season, marking the fifth-lowest in the Majors among players with at least 30 homers. Moustakas, who is the first Royals player to win the award, produced 20 RBI in consecutive months (22 in June, 21 in July) for the first time in his career. Of his 38 homers, 17 either tied a game or gave Kansas City the lead. In addition, he led the Royals with 13 game-winning RBI, and his 19 go-ahead RBI ranked second behind 2016 All-Star Eric Hosmer (25).
Past winners of the Awards include: Jason Giambi (NYY) and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (CIN) in 2005; Jim Thome (CWS) and Nomar Garciaparra (LAD) in 2006; Carlos Peña (TB) and Dmitri Young (WSH) in 2007; Cliff Lee (CLE) and Brad Lidge (PHI) in 2008; Aaron Hill (TOR) and Chris Carpenter (STL) in 2009; Francisco Liriano (MIN) and Tim Hudson (ATL) in 2010; Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) and Lance Berkman (STL) in 2011; Fernando Rodney (TB) and Buster Posey (SF) in 2012; Mariano Rivera (NYY) and Liriano (PIT) in 2013; Chris Young (SEA) and Casey McGehee (MIA) in 2014; Prince Fielder (TEX) and Matt Harvey (NYM) in 2015; and Rick Porcello (BOS) and Anthony Rendon (WSH) in 2016.