AL Comeback Player of the Year: Evan Longoria
This award could go to a few different, highly qualified American League candidates, but I wanted to spread the love to guys that haven't won any other first-quarter awards.
Longoria missed 88 games in 2012 and, so far in 2013, appears to be back and better than ever. Through 46 games, he has 9 HR and is hitting a career best .335. His .339 OBP, .585 SLG, and .984 OPS are also career highs.
Mariano Rivera, who missed all but nine games last year due to an ACL injury, but is back to his old dominant self. He is probably the most qualified for this award, but we'll talk more about him later.
Clay Buchholz, who earned the first-quarter AL Cy Young, wasn't hurt last year, he was just not very good. He finished 2012 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA in 189 IP. He gave up 25 home runs, 12 more than in any other season, and his K/9 was the worst of his career. This year has been a different story. Maybe it's the spitballs, but Buchholz has a 1.73 ERA, a 7-0 record and has only allowed two homers.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Troy Tulowitzki
Like Longoria, when Tulowitzki is healthy he is one of the best players in the game. And they are actually having similar comeback seasons to this point, except Tulowitzki's numbers are a little better and he has his team tied for first place. Tulo has 9 dingers, 38 RBI and also has career highs with a .409 OBP, .606 SLG, and 1.014 OPS. He's not just in the hunt for comeback player of the year, he could very well be the MVP if he can maintain this level of production and stay on the field.
Carl Crawford is having a resurgence this year after hibernating for the last few years. He missed the majority of 2012 and has come back strong in '13. He's hitting .302 and his .364 OBP ties a career high. He's looking a little like the old Carl Crawford that combined speed and pop with his nine stolen bases and five long balls.
AL Delivery Man of the Year: Mariano Rivera
I told you we'd talk about him later. The all time saves leader is doing what he does after missing almost all of 2012. He's rocking a 1.47 ERA in 2013, is leading the AL in saves, has allowed just one earned run, and walked just two batters all at age 43. 43! He could very easily win comeback player of the year as well.
Seattle's Tom Wilhelmsen is behind Rivera with his microscopic ERA and WHIP, but he doesn't have the save numbers that Rivera does. Joe Nathan of the Rangers and Addison Reed of the White Sox are also in the conversation.
NL Delivery Man of the Year: Jason Grilli
The Pirates closer has been the only reliever in baseball to match Rivera's performance this year. He has two more saves than Rivera and has a 1.25 ERA and a .74 WHIP. Opponents are hitting just .147 off of him and his 14.1 K/9 is among the highest of any closer.
Rafael Betancourt of the Rockies is putting together a very nice season with a 1.56 ERA and a perfect 10/10 record in save opportunities.