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2011 AL Goose Gossage Award

October 3, 2011

It is that time, once again, to start taking a look at each of the major year end awards. As I did last year, I will be submitting a ballot here on the blog for each of the awards selected by the BBWAA. However, as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, we use a different selection of names for our awards – our own tribute to some of the game’s greats and because the BBWAA has actually asked us to do so (to avoid confusion, I presume). Over the past two seasons the BBA and BBWAA have chosen the same recipient for nearly every award.

We’ve already taken a look at the Connie Mack Award (given to the league’s top manager) and the Willie Mays Award (top rookie). Now we’ll turn our attention to the top relief pitchers. The 2011 American League Goose Gossage Award goes to …..

Across the board the numbers weren’t quite as impressive when looking at the AL relievers than the NL. The AL only saw two players save 40+ games and only two hold 30+. But, there were still some performances that certainly deserve some recognition.

Seattle’s Brandon League likely comes as the biggest surprise of the bunch. He finished 2011 with a 2.79 ERA and 37 saves for a last place Mariners team. Boston’s Daniel Bard tied for the league lead with 34 holds, but also posted a 3.33 ERA and 2-9 record which largely take him out of these discussions. His teammate, Alfredo Aceves, fared much better working in more of a swingman role. His posted a 10-2 record, with 2 saves and 11 holds in 114.0 innings of 2.61 ERA work.

New York also had a pair of relievers with solid seasons. David Robertson took hold of the setup role and pitched to a 1.08 ERA, 4-0 record, and 34 holds in 66.2 innings. Following Robertson out of the Yankee bullpen was the immortal Mariano Rivera. In addition to breaking the MLB record for career saves he completed what proved to be another Mo-like season in 2011: 44 saves, 1.91 ERA, 0.900 WHIP.

 

  2011 AL Goose Gossage Award
1st Jose Valverde
2nd Mariano Rivera
3rd (tie) David Robertson / Alfredo Aceves

 

Yet, the honor for top reliever in the AL must go to Detroit closer Jose Valverde. He led the league with 49 saves, converting 100% of the save opportunities presented to him on the season. He also posted a 2.24 ERA and 1.190 WHIP. Valverde’s achievements are magnified when you consider that much of the bullpen around him largely struggled with consistency for much of the season. Mo will bring in a close second while Robertson and Aceves will actually tie for third on my ballot.

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