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BBA General Chapter Announces Vote for Goose Gossage Award

October 18, 2010

Each year the Baseball Bloggers Alliance votes on and chooses our own winners for each of the year’s major awards. As President of the General Chapter, it is my privilege to announce the Chapter’s choice for each award winner. Today we’ll look at the Goose Gossage Award, given to the top reliever for each league.

First place votes were awarded 5 points. Second place votes were awarded 3 points. Third place votes were awarded 1 point. Each blog within the General Chapter of the BBA was invited to submit a ballot for the award. Ballots were subsequently submitted by the following members: 85% Sports, TG Sports Thoughts, The Straw That Stirs The Drink, Rhino Rant, Off Base Percentage, Jason’s Baseball Blog, The Golden Sombrero, Going Yard, The Flagrant Fan, Call to the Pen, Diamond Hoggers, and Blogging From The Bleachers.

Evaluating who the best reliever in the league was for the past season is a highly subjective discussion because everyone views various statistical measures differently. To some, saves and holds are paramount to the discussion. For others, the decision focuses on K/9 and the percentage of inherited runners left stranded. Yet, despite the differences between how relief pitchers are viewed there were clear winners from each league that stood out above the rest of their counterparts.

American League

The American League saw a number of standout performances that certainly warranted consideration for this award. The White Sox had a pair of relievers with good seasons in Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton, giving the organization options at the backend of their bullpen going forward. Detroit’s Ryan Perry had a solid showing, lifting a bullpen beleaguered by injury much of the season. Boston’s Daniel Bard continued to develop into a potential future closer. Texas’ Neftali Feliz burst onto the season and set a rookie record for saves. And the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera put up yet another season that we’ve come to expect from him.

Yet, the race truly came down to two names for this award – Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano and Kansas City’s Joakim Soria. One of the two were named on each of the ballots submitted for this award.

Soria very quietly saved 43 games with a 1-2 record and 1.78 ERA over 65.2 innings of work. He set a new career high in appearances and saves while recording a career low 2.2 BB/9. He’d also make his second All Star Game appearance. Soriano saved a league high 45 games with a 3-2 record and 1.73 ERA over 62.1 innings of work. He’d be selected to his first career All Star Game appearance.

While the two had very comparable seasons from a purely statistical standpoint, the edge goes to Soriano here, perhaps because his performance came during the heat of a pennant race.

1st 2nd 3rd Total Points  
7 1 2 40 Rafael Soriano
2 7 1 32 Joakim Soria
2   1 11 Matt Thornton
  2 5 11 Neftali Feliz
  1   3 Ryan Perry
    2 2 Daniel Bard
    1 1 Mariano Rivera
    1 1 Sergio Santos

National League

In the National League there were also a number of quality performances that warranted consideration for this award. In fact, there were a higher number of relievers who received mention on a ballot than in the AL.

San Diego’s bullpen led the league in many statistical categories and saw Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams, and Heath Bell all receive votes. Atlanta’s Billy Wagner put up a solid final season while rookie Johnny Venters impressed as a rookie setting up for him. Meanwhile Chicago’s Carlos Marmol was a lone bright spot for the Cubs with such a dominating season the fact that he finished with a K/9 ratio of 16.0 was almost lost in the disappointment of another poor Cubs finish.

Consideration was also noted for Colorado’s Matt Belisle, Chicago’s Sean Marshall, and Cincinnati’s Francisco Cordero, Arthur Rhodes, and Nick Masset.

However, none of that mattered as San Francisco’s Brian Wilson ran away with the award by a wide margin. In fact, Wilson received more voting points than the finishers in second and third place combined. He’d finish the 2010 season with a career high 48 saves, 3-3 record, 11.2 K/9, and 1.81 ERA over 74.2 innings. He was selected to the All Star Game and clearly became a fan favorite in San Francisco as the season progressed.

1st 2nd 3rd Total Points  
8 2   46 Brian Wilson
  4 4 16 Heath Bell
2 1 1 14 Carlos Marmol
  2 3 9 Billy Wagner
1     5 Luke Gregerson
  1   3 Mike Adams
  1   3 Johnny Venters
    1 1 Nick Masset
    1 1 Francisco Cordero
    1 1 Arthur Rhodes
    1 1 Matt Belisle
    1 1 Sean Marshall
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