The Baseball Bloggers Alliance gives the Goose Gossage award each year to the best relievers in baseball, and here’s my ballot. I have nominations for the American and National leagues.
1. Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers – The best in baseball in 2011 based on number of saves, and I think that’s an accurate reflection of his performance. He had no blown saves, and that cinches it for me.
2. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees – An astonishing season for anyone, let alone a player of his age. His numbers are better than Valverde’s in many categories, but he had 5 blown saves.
3. Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians – After Valverde and Rivera, there’s a gap, and Perez is the next in line with 36 saves.
1. J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks – Putz was third in the NL with 45 saves, one behind John Axford and Craig Kimbrel. I like his low WHIP and low total of just 12 walks. He added an added aura of invincibility to the D-Backs and I also saw him more than the others, so he gets my top tally.
2. John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers – Great numbers, with only 2 blown saves. Did his blowing the save in last night’s NLDS clincher lower his value in my book? No. I’m sticking with the regular season for my picks.
3. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves – Monster numbers for a rookie, tying Axford with 46 saves and an astonishing 127 strikeouts with only 32 walks. Eight blown saves, though, but I won’t worry about them when I make him my first closer pick in next year’s fantasy draft.