Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Holland, Kimbrel were top bullpen arms in '13

At the conclusion of every season, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) are asked to submit their ballots for the top awards across baseball. Each of these awards is named in honor of a player that epitomized the role in Major League Baseball. Throughout the week, I will release my ballots for each award and I will post the official announcements from the BBA with the combined votes of all member blogs.

Here is the list of awards that have been announced and the others that will be announced in the coming days:

Goose Gossage Award for Top Reliever
American League

1. Greg Holland- RHP - Kansas City Royals

2-1 record, 1.21 ERA, 47 Saves, 67.0 IP, 103 SO, 18 BB, 0.866 WHIP
Surprisingly the Royals were in the playoff hunt for a chunk of the season and Holland was a dominant force at the back of their bullpen. His SO/9 and SO/BB rate both increased this year as he qualified for his first All-Star Game. Before this season, he had never struck out more than 91 and he had never allowed less than 12 runs in a year. The nine earned runs scored against him were scored in seven games. If you throw out one early three run outing, his numbers would have been even more impressive.

2. Joe Nathan- RHP - Texas Rangers
6-2 record, 1.39 ERA, 43 Saves, 64.2 IP, 73 SO, 22 BB, 0.897 WHIP
Nathan seems to have found new life in Texas. In his second full year with the Rangers, Nathan returned to his pre-Tommy John surgery form. It was the first time he had an ERA under 2.00 since 2008 and his 297 ERA+ was the second highest of his career. He finished over 60 games for the sixth time in his career and he never allowed more than two runs in an outing. He's 38-years old and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

3. Mariano Rivera- RHP - New York Yankees
6-2 record, 2.11 ERA, 44 Saves, 64.0 IP, 54 SO, 9 BB, 1.047 WHIP
In his farewell season, Rivera still showed that he could be one of the best relief pitchers in the game. Team's honored him throughout the season for his contributions to the game and then he went out and rolled through the opposition. He is a once in a generation player and he got to go out on his own terms which is something not many players get to do. 

National League
1. Craig Kimbrel- RHP - Atlanta Braves
4-3 record, 1.21 ERA, 50 Saves, 67.0 IP, 98 SO, 20 BB, 0.881 WHIP
For the third straight season, Kimbrel was the league leader in saves but this was the first season where he failed to strikeout over 100 batters. His team was in the hunt for the playoff race during all of his outings and this adds extra pressure to those late inning situations. Last season, the argument could be made for Kimbrel to be in the Cy Young discussion. This season wasn't as dominant but he still stood out compared to his other counterparts in the National League. 

2. Mark Melancon- RHP - Pittsburgh Pirates
3-2 record, 1.39 ERA, 16 Saves, 71.0 IP, 70 SO, 8 BB, 0.958 WHIP
Pittsburgh needed to find a way into the postseason and their strong bullpen helped to keep them in close games throughout the year. Melancon wasn't the full time closer but he filled in the role when he was asked by his manager. He limited his walks and kept runners off the bases to be one of the best relief pitchers in the NL while making the first All-Star Game of his five year career.

3. Kenley Jansen- RHP - Los Angeles Dodgers 
4-3 record, 1.88 ERA, 28 Saves, 76.2 IP, 111 SO, 18 BB, 0.861 WHIP
Jansen had been quietly working his way to this kind of season over the last couple of years. He never had an ERA under 2.00 or struck out more than 100 but all of that changed this season. Jansen set career bests in innings, strikeouts, and ERA. The Dodgers needed someone to calm the storm at the back-end of their bullpen and Jansen has been the go-to guy when the pressure has been mounting.  

No comments: