So now that I’ve posted my End of the Year Award winners, I thought I’d take my readers through my thought process, see the others I considered for each award and explain why I chose who I chose. And I’ll finish with my Goose Gossage Award winners.
This one was a little goofy. I made my picks, copied it off of Microsoft Word (like I always do) and pasted it into my blog. Then, when I went back to the Word document to work on the breakdown, I thought that I forgot to post my Goose Gossage Award winners. In reality, they were just one page up and I didn’t see them. I scrolled down looking for them, and found my initial stat breakdown. I copied that, inadvertently copying the wrong AL pitcher to go with my correct NL guy and quickly tried to post it on the blog before the deadline to post awards passed. In doing so I falied to notice two things:
1. I actually had posted my Goose Gossage Award winners with the rest of my award winners
2. And that I copied the top name in both sections of my stat breakdowns, not realizing that both top guys weren’t the winners I chose. They just happened to be the guys whose stats I looked at first. The NL guy was correct. But the AL guy was wrong.
I apologize for any confusion. But I hope I cleared it up. And now I’ll clear up my thinking so you can see why I chose the guys I chose.
The race in the AL was a little easier than the NL one. I considered three guys, but one rose above the rest pretty easily. The pitchers I considered were Jim Johnson of the Orioles, Rafael Soriano of the Yankees and Fernando Rodney of the Rays. And in typing that sentence I now notice that all of them are from AL East teams. What do you know?
Johnson had to be the best story and biggest surprise. He actually led the league in Saves with 51. And while his 2.49 ERA and 1.02 WHIP were pretty good, they weren’t nearly as dominant as the other guys he was up against. Closers have tougher numbers standards. And in one inning, you’d have liked to see a lower ERA and a miniscule BAA. Johnson’s was 220. That’s not bad for a starter, but pretty middle of the road for a closer. I think he had a fantastic year, but the number of Saves isn’t the only thing that matters in this race. And other than that one stat, he didn’t dominate.
The second man on this list is in the running for the situation he stepped into in addition to his strong numbers. Rafael Soriano of the Yankees was asked to do the impossible: replace Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time. Luckily he got to do it in New York where the fans are known for their patience and level headedness….wait. Even though he didn’t spend the whole season as a closer, he was still third in the league with 42 Saves. In addition, he was pretty dominant with 69 Ks in 67 IP and a 217 BAA. His ERA was solid (2.26) but his WHIP was too high at 1.17. In the end though, his numbers were very good as the closer. Better than when he was a middle reliever. And he came into an impossible situation and played very well. He played well enough to almost take the award in my opinion, but there was one other guy who rose above the rest.
And that man was Fernando Rodney of the Rays. I liked the other guys a lot, but this one wasn’t too close. Rodeny was second in the league with 48 Saves. But that isn’t what got the job for him. He was also asked to step into the closer role after Kyle Farnsworth got hurt in Tampa. He then held the job and completely shut the door on opponents. His ERA was 0.60. That’s not a typo. It was 0.60. His WHIP was actually higher than his ERA, coming in at a very strong 0.78. he held hitters to a 167 AVG against him (BAA) and was overpowering with 76 Ks in 74 IP. His name was next to ‘dominance’ in the dictionary this season. Rodney ran away with this one. And he was my AL Goose Gossage Award winner.
The NL was much tougher, though I only considered two guys. Both guys will get a lot of votes and either is worthy of the award. It’s kind of like another MVP situation, where both guys were so good that you can’t imagine either losing. The two guys I considered were Aroldis Chapman of the Reds and Craig Kimbrel of the Braves.
Chapman was tied for second in the NL with 38 Saves. What makes that even more impressive is that he was not the closer when the season started. He was just the highest paid, most impressive middle reliever in baseball. Then the Reds thought, “Hey, why don’t we let the guy who throws 105 MPH take a crack at the 9th inning?” They couldn’t be happier that they had that brainstorm. Chapman was completely dominant. In 71 IP, he struck out 122. 122! That’s the best strikeout rate in baseball. Add to that a fantastic 1.51 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 141 BAA and you have one of the most dominant closers in the game. He was so good that it was almost impossible for him to lose this award. But through no fault of his own (because he almost couldn’t have played any better) there was another pitcher with the same dominant streak who won the award in my eyes.
And that was Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves. Kimbrel was tied for first in the league with 42 Saves. And while he didn’t quite have the strikeout rate of Chapman, he was probably the second best in the bigs, with 116 Ks in 62 IP. That’s still a phenomenal rate. So if Chapman’s K rate was slightly better, why did Kimbrel get my vote? Because Kimbrel was better in every other statistical category. Both were dominant in every way. The only area where Chapman was better was with the Ks, but Kimbrel was almost as good. And, again, strikeouts are probably the least important statistic to a pitcher. Kimbrel had a fantastic 1.01 ERA to go with a 0.65 WHIP and a miniscule 126 BAA. Both pitcher’s were incredibly good and either is more than deserving of the award. But I had to go with Kimbrel as my NL Winner of the Goose Gossage Award.
Okay so that’s the last of the awards breakdowns. I’d love to hear what you think. Share some of your picks with me. And I’ll post the BBA’s final awards tally as soon as it’s all up. Until then you can keep up with me by liking my Facebook page here. It’s October! Love the playoffs!