It’s time for the End of the Year Awards. This is one of my favorite articles to write each year. It’s also a mandatory article per my affiliation with the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. However, it’s not a problem as I love writing these and always hope my vote helps pick the individuals I deem as the correct recipients of each individual reward. So let’s continue with the….
Goose Gossage Award (Reliever of the Year)
1. Greg Holland
2. Zach Britton
3. Fernando Rodney
This was another award that I think had a clear winner at the top, and then a murky group beyond that to make up the top 3.
I only considered one other pitcher for this list and that was David Robertson of the Yankees. He had the third most Saves in the league and led AL closers with 96 strikeouts. But with 7 HR and a 3.08 ERA, he wasn’t as dominant as others on this list. He also still puts a few too many on base via the walk. So while I think he had a nice year, he wasn’t in my top 3.
Out of the ones who were, Fernando Rodney was third on the list. He actually led the majors with 48 Saves. However, he pitched to a 2.85 ERA and gave up far too many walks. When you look at closers, you love a dominant pitcher who strikes out a lot of guys and keeps men off base. Rodney did half of that with 76 Ks in 66 IP. But he gave up 28 walks and his 2.85 ERA isn’t great for a closer. It’s not bad by any means and he had a good year. But he was only the third best closer in the league for my money.
One of the guys I liked better was Zach Britton in Baltimore. Britton was a former starter who couldn’t get it done on the mound. They then moved him to the bullpen to be a long guy and spot starter. He wasn’t much better in that role. He then moved to middle relief before an injury gave him an opportunity to close. And he excelled when he moved into the 9th. He saved 37 games for the AL East winning Orioles while pitching to a 1.65 ERA. His sparkling 0.90 WHIP shows that he did a phenomenal job keeping runners off base, which is one of the most important stats for a closer. The one thing he didn’t do was over power hitters with strikeouts. So while he was great, there was one guy I liked better.
And that was the top man on my list, Greg Holland. I’ve actually picked him to win this award in the past. I liked him better than Koji Uehara last year. In fact, I submit that if the Red Sox didn’t win the World Series, then Holland would have won. His numbers were better across the board, both percentage and counting stats. But it’s too late for that. So hopefully, we can get it right this year. Holland’s 46 Saves were second in the league and third in major league baseball. He struck out 90 in 62 IP, good enough for second most Ks among AL closers. He also had an excellent 1.44 ERA and miniscule 0.91 WHIP. Batters only hit 170 off of him. He was completely dominant in his ability to keep runners off base and overpower hitters with the strikeout. He hit all the important areas for a closer and excelled in them. So while others had good years, it was an easy call for me to single Greg Holland as my AL Goose Gossage Award Winner.