I am still as honored to be allowed to vote in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s end-of-season awards as I am frustrated and embarrassed to have no time to write. Below are my ballots for each league’s best reliever, with precious little explanation.
NL Goose Gossage Award
1. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
2. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
It had to be one of these guys. One might cite fatigue, as I don’t even remember the last time I voted for a non-Kimbrel reliever to win this award, but I think Chapman was actually better. Almost two of every three outs he recorded this year were strikeouts. He gave up 2 earned runs per nine innings, but almost never on homers (he gave up 1, to Kimbrel’s 2). Kimbrel had the better ERA- 1.61 to 2.00, but Chapman’s 0.83 FIP is too shiny for me to look away.
3. Tony Watston, Pirates
Only two NL relievers threw as many as 80 innings this year. Watson was third with 77 1/3, and racked up 81 strikeouts on the way to a 1.63 ERA.
AL Goose Gossage Award
1. Wade Davis, Royals
2. Dellin Betances, Yankees
Here’s another one that could have gone two ways. Betances was ridiculously good and pitched 90 innings, which would have put him over the top if not for Davis’s 1.00 ERA and 1.19 FIP. In 72 innings, Davis never gave up a homer. He gave up eight runs. He struck out 86 more batters than he walked. Betances struck out a batter and a half per inning himself and pitched a ton for a modern reliever, but he’s sunk on this ballot by the 4 of his 1,365 pitches that batters hit over the fence. I have a feeling he’s got a Gossage or two in his future.
3. Jake McGee, Rays
I’d love to have named Davis, Greg Holland, and Kelvin Herrera in all three spots, as they were 2nd, 7th, and 8th in the AL in reliever Win Probability Added, but Betances and McGee were too good to ignore.