2011 NL Goose Gossage Ballot (St. Louis Chapter)

Each year, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance case ballots for several awards, acknowledging outstanding individual performances in the regular season.   The Goose Gossage award is given to the top reliever, and I have the privilege of casting a ballot for the top performers in the NL.

1. John Axford 2-2, 1.95 ERA, 46 SV, 3.44 K/BB

Axford led the National League in saves with 46 (tied with Craig Kimbrel), and was 46 out of 48 in such opportunities and he didn’t allow a run in the month of September.   Axford had been a rock from the start of the season and did not fade at the end.   His 3.44 K/BB when combined with more than a strikeout per inning pitched tells us that he is taking care of business by himself and not putting his team at risk with walks or excessive batted balls.

2. Craig Kimbrel 4-3, 2.10 ERA, 46 SV, 14.8 K/9IP

Is there a more exciting young arm in the game than Craig Kimbrel ?   I don’t think so.   He is one of the few players that I will turn away from the game that I am watching to see pitch.   Until the last week of the season, Kimbrel was my favorite for this award, but the rookie faded at the end and was unable to convert a pair of critical save situations.  His K/BB ratio is as good as Axfords, but his strikeouts per 9 innings pitched is insanely good.   If he is able to stay healthy, Kimbrel is the closer of the future, which is very good news for he Braves.

3. Tyler Clippard 3-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.838 WHIP

Why do the closers get all the awards ?   In the modern game, setup guys are becoming increasingly important, and Clippard is one of the best.  Like Jonny Venters in Atlanta, Clippard would be closing out games if not for Drew Storen.   Clippard is a better than strikeout per inning and his 4 K/BB ratio tells is that he is not getting into trouble by the walk.

And please don’t tell anyone, but I did take a sneak peek at the league leaders in WPA over at fangraphs.com to help me feel better about this pick.  Clippard was the league leader, followed by John Axford and then Jonny Venters.   Don’t let that get around though, it will blow my cover as an anti-new-metric person.

4. Joel Hanrahan – 1-4, 1.83 ERA, 40 saves

Ahhh, this is a closer that feels more familiar to the Cardinal fan in me.  Not a big strikeout guy, just shy of 1 per inning, so he’s putting more balls in play.   Hanrahan was nails through the end of July, but mirrored his team’s August drop off.  He was not the cause, just an unfortunate passenger on the the SS Bucco.  Hanrahan is entering the prime of his career, so I look forward to seeing his name on this list next year, and many more after that.

5. Jonny Venters – 6-2, 1.84 ERA, 85 appearances

My second setup guy in the list.  Venters pitches like a closer, and if not for the young phemom closing out games, he might be racking up saves instead of holding down the fort.  Throw in the fact that he’s a lefty, that makes Atlanta’s late inning guys especially tough.  Reminds me of a couple guys named Worrell and Dayley who did that in St. Louis in the mid to late 80s.

This entry was posted in Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2011 NL Goose Gossage Ballot (St. Louis Chapter)

  1. Pete Sorice says:

    It may be boring but Kimbrel had the best xFIP by far (1.9). xFIP accounts for practically everything pitchers have full control over (KK, BB, GB/FB). Team-mates have huge effects on W/L, ERA, Saves and WHIP.


    • Thanks for the comment, Pete. I did take that into consideration in my voting (and Axford isn’t terribly far down that list either). If anything, it makes me feel better about the inclusion of Venters and Clippard 🙂 I could have gone either way with the first two, and only put Axford over Kimbrel when the latter struggled at the end. Overworked, probably, but still.

      I see in the press release that many of the other voters agree with you, enough for him to win the award. I’m totally fine with that – he’s a tremendous talent.

      Appreciate the comment.


  2. Pingback: BBA Selects Kimbrel, Valverde For Goose Gossage Award « Baseball Bloggers Alliance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s