The Baseball Bloggers Alliance present the Goose Gossage Award to each league’s top reliever. It does not matter if the player was a closer or not, but as you will soon see, they garner a lot of the attention as far as a bullpen is concerned.
Here is Blog Red Machine’s ballot for the Gossage…
Our top nod goes to John Axford of the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s easy to say Axford got our nod because of the Brewers 2011 success. While it may have been a a factor, that’s also a bit of a misleading statement. Axford tied for the NL lead in saves (46) and only blew two saves all season. And one of those came on Opening Day against the Reds. Axford was the only reliever named on all four ballots.
Our second choice goes to Craig Kimbrel. If not for a late season swoon, Kimbrel may have received our top spot. Not only did he tie Axford in saves, but he also lead all primary relivers in innings pitched (77), strikeouts (127) and batting average against (.178)
The third and final spot goes to Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. Not only did Hanrahan post his best season ever, he backed that up with one impressive fact: in 68.2 innings of work, he surrendered one home run. He also played a big part of the mid-season Pirates resurgence.
Reviewing our ballot…
1. John Axford, MIL
2. Craig Kimbrel, ATL
3. Joel Hanrahan, PIT
The vote went as follows…