1. Koji Uehara
Red Sox closer
Uehara wasn’t only the greatest local stats story of the year, he was the top Boston newcomer of 2013 by far. A nondescript free agent signed in December 2012 to bolster what appeared to be a team strength, Uehara pulled the Sox season out of the fire, ascending to the role of closer after Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, and Junichi Tazawa all were given opportunities before him.
All he did was respond with one of the greatest seasons for a closer. His 38 straight batters retired amounted to a perfect game plus 3 2/3 innings and flirted with the major league record of 41. He was virtually spotless in save opportunities during the regular season, allowing just three runs (two earned) on nine hits and one walk in 25 innings of work with a save at stake, converting 21 of his chances, while raising his alltime strikeout-to-walk ratio to 8.74, the best, by far, among all major league pitchers with at least 20 career innings of experience.
He was just as good in the 2013 playoffs, saving all seven chances he received to tie the alltime postseason record. He allowed just one run in 13 2/3 innings and claimed ALCS MVP honors en route to winning his first World Series ring.