Yankees: 2020 Team Award Predictions

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Reliever of the Year: Zack Britton

Zack Britton #53 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

This bullpen weapon will stand out for the Yankees in 2020.

Even before Aroldis Champan tested positive for COVID-19, Zack Britton was my pick for reliever of the year. Now that he will likely serve as the closer if Chapman misses time, I really like his chances.

The sinker baller has been a tremendous asset for New York since he first donned pinstripes in 2018. Last season, he led the Majors (among relievers) in ground ball percentage (77.2%) and finished in the top 10 in BABIP (.224) and ERA (1.91).

I wrote about Britton flying under the radar heading into the 2020 season in June and I still don’t think he has received the recognition he deserves. Maybe it’s because of the qualities of other relievers in pinstripes. Take Tommy Kahnle’s personality or Adam Ottavino’s sweeping slider, for example.

Regardless, Britton will use the 60-game sprint to show why he’s the team’s top arm out of the ‘pen in 2020.

Another factor behind what should be another stellar season for Britton is his contract situation. Britton has a player option for the 2021 season worth $13 million and then a team option worth $14 million for the 2022 season. How will this play out?

Free agency could be a significant gamble with the financial implications of the pandemic, but if he has another stellar year, he could convince another team to pay him the big bucks on another new deal.