Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Betances, Chapman were Top Bullpen Arms in '14

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. Over the next couple of weeks, 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. Dellin Betances- RHP - New York Yankees
W-L 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 90.0 IP, 135 K, 24 BB
The Yankees had to turn to their bullpen a lot and Betances was dominant. He racked up a ton of innings and he pitched those innings at a very high level. He struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings and he limited the amount of base runners even getting on against him. Betances led all American League pitchers in win probability added which put him ahead of players like Felix Hernandez and Chris sale. There was a lot of focus on Derek Jeter's last season in New York but Betances was quietly having the best relief season in the American League. 

2. Wade Davis- RHP - Kansas City Royals
W-L 9-2, 1.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 72.0 IP, 109 K, 23 BB
Davis had been switching back and forth between starting and the bullpen the last couple of seasons. This season might solidify himself as a dominant back of the bullpen arm. He finished third among AL pitchers in win probability added behind only Betances and Hernandez. Davis also posted career best marks in strikeouts per nine and walks per nine. If not for the dominant season from Betances, this would be his award.

3. Sean Doolittle- LHP - Oakland Atheltics
W-L 2-4, 2.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 62.2 IP, 89 K, 8 BB
Doolittle is the only man on my list that spent time as a closer this season. The A's were fighting for their playoff lives at the end of the season and this meant a lot of work out of their bullpen. Doolittle didn't put up the numbers like the men ahead of him on this list but he was a vital part of a playoff team. He struck out almost 13 batters per nine innings and he averaged 11.13 strikeouts per walk. 

National League
1. Aroldis Chapman- LHP - Cincinnati Reds
W-L 0-3, 2.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 54.0 IP, 106 K, 24 BB
Chapman missed some time this season after being hit in the face with a batted ball during spring training. This could have caused him to be a little gun shy on the mound upon his return. Looking at his numbers, it was easy to see that he came out guns blazing. He averaged almost two strikeouts per inning pitched. That number is mind blowing. Chapman and Kimbrel have battled for this award the last couple years and Chapman deserves the nod in 2014.

2. Craig Kimbrel- RHP - Atlanta Braves
W-L 0-3, 1.61 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 61.2 IP, 95 K, 26 BB
For the fourth straight season, Kimbrel led the National League in saves. He's been my pick for the award the last few seasons but this year he saw a little bit of a drop in his strikeout numbers. This still doesn't take away anything from a very strong campaign. The Braves needed all the help they could get at the end of games and knowing Kimbrel is at the back of the bullpen has to be a relief for Braves fans. 

3. Kenley Jansen- RHP - Los Angeles Dodgers
W-L 2-3, 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 65.1 IP, 101 K, 19 BB
The Dodgers are hoping Jansen gets plenty of opportunities to continue his strong season in October. His strikeout totals were quite at the same level as Chapman but he still did very well. He posted a better walk rate than both of the men ahead of him on this list and he will be the only one with the opportunity to win the World Series. He had a very good season but it's hard to keep up with the Chapman's and Kimbrel's of the world. 

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