MCB Ballot for Goose Gossage Award

Motor City Bengals is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Every year, the BBA and its member sites vote on a collection of post-season awards. This year, MCB has been selected to vote for the Goose Gossage Award, honoring the league’s top reliever.

I’ll list my selection in inverse order so as to better sell the drama.

3- Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals

Holland burst onto the scene in 2011, his first full year in the majors. In 60 innings of work out of Kansas City’s bullpen, Holland posted a 5-1 record and 1.80 ERA while also collecting four saves. For the season, Holland posted a WHIP of 0.933, allowing only 37 hits and 19 walks while striking out 74.

2- David Robertson, New York Yankees

Robertson turned in a season for the ages in 2011. The Yankees’ set-up specialist struck out an even 100 batters and did so in only 66.2 innings of work. He allowed only 40 hits, but walked 35 for a WHIP of 1.140. His 1.08 ERA was best among AL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched in 2011.

1- Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers

There is something to be said about doing your job well. Like it or not, the save exists and nobody in baseball was better at closing out a win than Valverde. The eccentric right hander went 49-for49 in save opportunities for the Tigers in 2011 and also lead the league in appearances with 75 and games finished with 70. While he wasn’t great in non-save situations, Valverde was nearly un-hittable when protecting a slim lead. In fact, in those 49 save chances, Valverde allowed a mere 26 hits and a total of three runs (0.55 ERA) while holding opponents to a .154 batting average.

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Tags: BBA David Robertson Detroit Tigers Greg Holland Jose Valverde

  • MCBjohnverburg

    This will beg the question of whether or not saves are the be all end all for reliever. According to Fangraphs, Valverde finished with a value of 1.0 WAR which is significantly down the list for relievers. I think that is ridiculous, and Baseball Reference I think has a more accurate WAR at 2.7, but we can’t just ignore his non-save appearances can we?

    • JohnJParent

      @MCBjohnverburg I have to agree with the WAR comment. I looked at WAR at both sites when compiling this ballot, and honestly, I re-arranged my order a few times. In the end, the sheer volume of Valverde’s work (appearances, GF, and his effectiveness in save opps) won me over, but I’m certainly open to debate here.

      Was Valverde the most dominant this year? No, probably not. Robertson and Holland were both damn good (as was Papelbon and a few others). But even as he was less effective in non-save games, Valverde actually had a significantly higher strikeout rate in those games. The biggest difference was the BABiP, which sat at a shockingly low .205 in save chances and a shockingly high .324 in non-saves. Luck was at least a factor is both his great success when protecting a slim lead, but also in his poor performance when there was no save to be had.

      • MCBjohnverburg

        @JohnParent_MCB I certainly don’t mean to discount saving every opportunity either. There is a lot of value in that as well. I think if you are talking dominance, Robertson is probably the guy.

    • ChrisHannum


      WAR is an almost meaningless stat for a reliever. Everything about what they do and what they contribute is situation dependent – we don’t need a stat like WAR that tries to control for situations. An amazing, amazing garbage man still does next to nothing to help his team’s W-L total. WPA is where it’s at for relievers, and while Robertson is tops in the AL Valverde was very, very close on his heels. We can’t exactly ignore his non-save appearances, but some of them we can discount.

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