The next BBA award I get the pleasure of voting for is the Goose Gossage Award for Top Reliever. As a Yankee fan it is so tempting to vote for Mariano Rivera to win it, especially after he became the all-time saves leader. However, the award is for the 2011 season only, not for a lifetime of work. With that in mind, here are my votes:
1st Place: Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers. After the guarantee this guy made against the Yankees in the ALDS, I am in no mood to give him any votes. But I must be an honest, responsible blogger and pick him as the winner. Valverde converted 49 of 49 save opportunities, pitching to a 2.24 ERA and getting a .198 batting average against. Congratulations to him.
2nd Place: Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees. Rivera did convert 44 of 49 save opportunities, pitched to a 1.91 ERA and had a .215 batting average against. He also continued to set the example of how someone who's been there and done that is supposed to act on the mound. Valverde, are you listening...ah forget it.
3rd Place: Brandon League, Seattle Mariners. League was on a terrible team but compiled 37 saves against 42 opportunities, with a 2.79 ERA and a .239 batting average against. League has always been a tough pitcher to hit, going back to his days as a reliever with the Toronto Blue Jays. Put him on a better team and he could have challenged Valverde for the win.
Two more awards to vote for. I'll post my selections for them later this week.