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10/05/2011 12:00 PM ET
Jose Valverde Named Winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award
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Jose Valverde of the Detroit Tigers has been selected as the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.

Valverde went 2-4 with a 2.24 ERA while converting each of his 49 save opportunities during the 2011 season. In a career-high 72.1 innings, Valverde allowed 52 hits and 34 walks with 69 strikeouts while holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average. The 33-year-old right-hander, who appeared in an American League-best 75 games, established a Tigers single-season record with 49 saves, eclipsing the previous record of 42 set by Todd Jones in 2000. The San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native became just the third pitcher in Major League history to convert all of his save opportunities during a single season while posting 40-or-more-saves, joining Eric Gagne, who converted all 55 of his save chances for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2003 season, and Brad Lidge, who converted all 41 of his save opportunities for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. The 49 consecutive converted saves also set the longest single-season streak in franchise history, surpassing Guillermo Hernandez, who converted 32 straight saves in 1984. Valverde, who was originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent in 1997, was selected to his third career All-Star team in 2011, including his second as a member of the Tigers (also 2010 and 2007 with Arizona). Valverde, who has 242 career saves, posted a save in 10 straight appearances from July 24th - August 13th, matching Todd Jones (May 10-27, 2006) and John Hiller (June 26-July 10, 1973) for the most consecutive outings with a save in club history. Over his last 50 outings, Jose registered a 1.61 ERA, permitting nine earned runs in 50.1 innings pitched to help lead the Tigers to the A.L. Central title.

Other relievers receiving votes included John Axford (2-2, 1.95 ERA, 46 SV, 73.2 IP, 59 H, 25 BB, 86 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers; Atlanta Braves rookie closer Craig Kimbrel (4-3, 2.10 ERA, 46 SV, 77.0 IP, 48 H, 32 BB, 127 SO); and Joel Hanrahan (1-4, 1.83 ERA, 40 SV, 68.2 IP, 56 H, 16 BB, 61 SO) of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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