The Baseball Bloggers Association is conducting their post-season awards voting. Tomorrow, the Goose Gossage Award will be given to the best relievers of 2011 as determined by the BBA, will be announced. My ballot is as follows.
Best reliever is a tough thing to figure out. Is it the reliever with the best ERA? Is it the reliever with the best FIP or xFIP? The most WAR? The most WPA? You could really argue any of these things and be right. You could even argue the reliever with the most saves, though that's not something I really consider when I think of the best reliever.
When trying to figure out my ballot for the best reliever in the NL this year, I considered two things: WAR and WPA with WPA/LI. Really, I'm just trying to combine in my mind relievers that are awesome (which WAR is for) and relievers that get big outs (which is what the win probabilities are for). Closers don't always pitch in the most high-leverage situation, as all Pirate fans know, but at the same time, it's not really the closers' faults that they're not put into the games in those situations when managers don't know how to manage their best relievers.
Accordingly, I put Craig Kimbrel first on my list, because he was awesome this year. Averaging almost 15 strikeouts per nine innings is amazing and insane and it makes him deserve the top spot. The next two guys I put on my ballot, though, were more firemen than closers. Jonny Venters and Tyler Clippard both pitched almost 90 innings out of their respective bullpens in 2011 and they got huge outs in seventh innings and eighth innings that allowed Kimbrel and Drew Storen to rack up their huge save totals.
I'm really interested to see how this voting plays out: Brian from RTJR submitted the other Pittsburgh Chapter ballot and the only guy that overlaps on our ballots is Venters. He kind of went the opposite direction that I did, putting a fireman first and two closers second and third. There are a lot of very good relievers in the NL this year and there's a good chance that they're all going to get votes and this balloting is going to be all over the place.
In any case, my official ballot for the award is as follows:
- Craig Kimbrel
- Jonny Venters
- Tyler Clippard