2012 BBA Awards: Goose Gossage (Rolaids) and Walter Johnson (Cy)

Yesterday, we looked at the manager of the year and rookie of the year awards.  Our selections as winners for those awards were:

- Buck Showalter (AL MOY)
- Davey Johnson (NL MOY)
- Mike Trout (AL ROY)
- Bryce Harper (NL ROY)

While those choices were fairly straightforward (Mike Trout winning the AL Rookie of the Year is about as surprising as the sun coming up each morning in Pennsylvania), we have moved on with the expectation that things will get more difficult.

Today, we're giving you our selections for the Goose Gossage and Walter Johnson awards.  The Gossage award recognizes the top reliever from each league (the BBA equivalent to the Rolaids Relief Man Award) while the Johnson recognizes the best pitcher (the BBA equivalent of the Cy Young award).  If you'd like to check out last year's selections, you can see them here.

Goose Gossage Award - American League

1. Fernando Rodney - Tampa Bay Rays
2. Jim Johnson - Baltimore Orioles
3. Rafael Soriano - NY Yankees

I'm curious how Fernando Rodney has sort of flown under the radar this season... his 0.60 ERA is the lowest ERA over the course of a single season for a reliever in modern baseball history.  That bar had been previously set by Dennis Eckersley in 1990 (when he posted a 0.61) - what's more impressive, Rodney pitched more innings in 2012 than Eckersley and struck out more batters in the process.  Everyone is talking about Craig Kimbrel and his 16.7 K/9, and rightfully so, but Rodney's league/park adjusted ERA of 634 is other worldly.  Hersh actually had Johnson atop his list and I wouldn't be surprised if Johnson won the actual Rolaids award; Johnson has deservedly gotten a lot of credit for leading the league in saves (51) and being a rock for the upstart Orioles bullpen but I'm sticking with Rodney.  We also felt that it was prudent recognize what Soriano did with the Yankees this season... stepping into a high pressure situation, filling in for the legend, Mariano Riveraand posting a 2.26 ERA in the process.

Goose Gossage - National League

1. Craig Kimbrel - Atlanta Braves
2. Aroldis Chapman - Cincinnati Reds
3. Jonathan Papelbon - Philadelphia Phillies

Kimbrel set the record for strikeouts per nine innings pitched (16.7) this season (minimum 40 innings).  He struck out nearly two batters per inning over the course of an entire season (1.856 K per inning)... marinate on that.  He gave up zero runs in the month of September and three runs total over the months of June, July and August en route to a 1.01 ERA.  His underlying numbers were incredible and he led the NL in saves so this award is probably a lock for Kimbrel.  That being said, no one should overlook what Aroldis Chapman did in Cincinnati this season.  The lefty flame thrower struck out 15.3 batters per nine innings this season - good enough for the fourth highest mark of all-time.  He posted a 1.51 ERA to go along with 38 saves.  Papelbon was one of the few bright spots for the Phillies this season.  His numbers in save situations were really good (1.49 ERA, 0.874 WHIP and 12.1 K/9) and Papelbon was very steady in his role.

Walter Johnson Award - American League

1. David Price - Tampa Bay Rays
2. Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers
3. Jered Weaver - LA Angels
4. Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox
5. Matt Harrison - Texas Rangers

David Price was the clear winner for us.  He led the AL in wins, he led the AL in ERA and was the most consistent pitcher in the AL, start to finish.  Verlander picked it up down the stretch (going 6-1 in the months of August and September) and carried the Tigers into the postseason so he go the runner-up nod over Jered Weaver (who will win a Cy Young award one of these years).  We recognized the job that Chris Sale did in his first season as a starter by making him the fourth pitcher on our ballot - 192 strikeouts, 17 Wins and an ERA of 3.05 make him a worthy top 5 choice, in our minds.  You could have picked any number of pitchers for the fifth name but we went with Matt Harrison.  Arlington is a tough place to pitch - ERA is not always the best indicator.  Harrison won 18 games and posted a league/park adjusted ERA of 138 (good enough for fourth in the AL behind three other guys on our ballot).  

Walter Johnson - National League

1. R.A. Dickey - NY Mets
2. Gio Gonzalez - Washington Nationals
3. Clayton Kershaw - LA Dodgers
4. Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds
5. Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies

Dickey was the top choice on all three of our ballots so he was the choice for us but it is going to be very interesting to see who wins the Cy Young award this season because there is a logjam among those top four names and the field is very deep.  Dickey led the NL with 230 strikeouts while throwing 5 complete games (3 shutouts).  He led the league in innings pitched and was the most consistent pitcher from start to finish.  No other pitcher accounted for a greater percentage of his team's wins than Dickey.  Gonzalez led the NL in wins (21) and K/9 while giving up fewer HR/9 than any other starter in the National League. Kershaw led the league in ERA and finished 1 strikeout behind Dickey for the strikeout title.  He also led the league in WHIP.  Cueto finished third in wins (19) and ERA but led the league in park/league adjusted ERA (152).  Hamels won 17 games on a pretty bad Phillies team and posted a 3.05 ERA in the process.  He also finished third in strikeouts .  We also considered Matt Cain and Jordan Zimmerman... as mentioned, the field is deep and there are a host of names not mentioned that could have cracked this top 5.  


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