Every year, the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) selects noteworthy individuals in the game to win end of the year awards. There are a number of different awards given away by the BBA. You can find a list of the awards and my picks for each on my ballot here. This post is a breakdown explaining my choices for the Goose Gossage Award, which compares to the Reliever of the Year.
As an entire award, this one was the easiest to choose. We had two pitchers were fairly dominant, and while others were good, no one approached the numbers of my two winners. In the American League, I went with Greg Holland, the closer for the Kansas City Royals. Holland was second in the American League with 47 Saves in 50 Save opportunities. Jim Johnson was first in the AL with 50 Saves, but that’s the only stat that Johnson edged Holland out in. Holland did have 3 blown saves, but a 2-1 record overall, so the team did okay. He also added a Hold to the stats, as he didn’t take over as the full time closer until later in the season. In 67 IP, he had 103 Ks (more than Craig Kimbrel btw) and a 1.21 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 170 BAA. He was literally un-hittable. He gave up a mere 40 hits in 67 IP and only 18 BBs. That’s dominance.
I considered few others, but I’ll tell you who else was noteworthy. Jim Johnson of course led the AL with 50 Saves and was tied for the MLB lead (with my NL Winner). However he was not the shutdown stopper that Holland was. He blew 9 Saves in that time and was imminently more hittable with a 273 BAA. His WHIP was a little above average at 1.25 and a 2.94 ERA isn’t bad, but pales in comparison to what Holland was able to do. He also gave up many more hits (72 in 70 IP) and had far fewer Ks (56). Mariano Rivera was strong in his final year but logged fewer Saves and Ks, not to mention having more Blown Saves (than Holland…he was better than Johnson in that category and the ones I’m about to mention) and a higher WHIP, BAA and ERA. Really Joe Nathan was the only guy who was anywhere near Holland’s production in my book with 43 Saves in 46 Save opportunities, a 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 162 BAA and 73 Ks in 64 IP. He was officially second on my list, but it was pretty easy to award the 2013 AL Goose Gossage Award to Greg Holland.
In the National League, I went with Craig Kimbrel, the closer for the Atlanta Braves. Kimbrel led the NL with 50 Saves and was tied with Jim Johnson for the MLB lead. And his numbers were nearly identical to Holland’s in terms of dominance. Kimbrel had 4 Blown Saves (1 more than Holland). He matched Holland with 67 IP, but had slightly fewer Ks with 98 (which is still incredible…and by far the best in the NL among relievers). He gave up one fewer hit than Holland (39…again in 67 IP) and had 2 more walks with 20 total. His WHIP was one one hundredth of a point higher (0.88) and his BAA was four points lower (166). Comparisons aside, Kimbrel was incredibly dominant, and continues to keep his name at the top of the best closers in baseball list. In my book he’s the best, and has been for at least the last 2 years if not the last 3. And while Holland was comparable to him, this season in the AL, nobody in his own league was….well….in his league. Rafael Soriano was second in the league with 43 Saves, but with an ERA north of 3 and only 51 Ks in 66 IP, was nowhere near as dominant. Aroldis Chapman had the most Ks among relievers, but his ERA was over a full point higher. Edward Mujica had a strong first half, but faded down the stretch. This award was Kimbrel’s from the beginning of the year to the end, and he was easily my NL Goose Gossage Award winner for the second year in a row.
The BBA agreed with me in naming Craig Kimbrel the NL Winner of the Goose Gossage Award for the third straight year (I gave it to him 2 straight years as last season was my first year in the BBA). However Koji Uehara edged out Holland with 52% of the BBA vote compared to Greg’s 35%. (Now’s probably a good time to mention that in my original ballot post, I mis-typed Holland’s first name as GREY instead of GREG….my bad). Uehara was great with 21 Saves and a phenomenal post season, but I viewed this as a regular season award, and in the regular season, nobody was better than Holland. And Uehara didn’t even make my list. While I tried not to consider post season achievement, it seems that most others used that as the lynchpin in giving their award. If you want to read the official BBA awards breakdown, you can check it out here.
MLB has not released their Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Awards for this year yet, but it is the only award that is given based on statistics, with each Save worth 3 points, wins worth 2 and blown Saves and Losses worth -2 each. They also consider “Tough Saves” as worth an additional point, and those are defined as Saves earned when a pitcher enters the game with the tying run already on base and still converts. As I don’t have those stats in front of me, I can’t run the numbers to tell you who won, but it’ll almost certainly be Kimbrel in the NL and either Holland or Johnson in the AL. However I think Holland and Kimbrel were easily the overall winners for me this season.
More breakdowns to come. Stay tuned!