Thursday, October 11, 2012

BBA Awards, Part 3: Goose Gossage

In part three of this series, I'm presenting my choices for the BBA's Goose Gossage Award, which recognizes the season's best relief pitcher in each league.

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
  1. Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees
  3. Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
Goose Gossage Award - NL
  1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
  2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
  3. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies 

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