Three relievers had historic performances in 2012, but only two of them will win these awards. Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney's season is being compared to Dennis Eckersley's 1990. There was a point late in the year where their statistics were almost identical, with the exception being Rodney's walk rate, while impressive, was three times that of Eckersley's phenomenal 5 BB in 73 1/3 IP.
Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel struck out 50.2% of the batters he faced in 2012. The last pitcher to strike out more than half the batters he faced in a season was Francisco Rodriguez in 2002. Rodriguez faced 21 batters after a September call-up that year (striking out 13), so he doesn't really count. Besides these two, no one else has ever accomplished this feat over a season in which he pitched three or more innings. Kimbrel pitched 62 2/3 this year.
Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman gets lost in the shuffle here. He actually struck out a pretty incredible 44.2% of the batters he faced, and posted a 1.51 ERA over 71 2/3 innings.
Other relievers had good seasons, but no one else is really worth mentioning in the same breath as these guys. I have to fill out my ballot, though, so Rafael Soriano, Jim Johnson and Jonathan Papelbon get some recognition as well.
I don't necessarily believe all of these votes have to go to closers. But, that's how it turned out, mainly because there weren't any non-closers who had seasons as good as David Robertson did a year ago.
Goose Gossage Award - AL
- Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
- Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees
- Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
- Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
- Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
- Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies