The Brewers Bar has been partnering with Bernie’s Crew on these ballots for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance awards. Bud Black won the NL Connie Mack Award for best manager, but we gave Bobby Cox our first place vote. Buster Posey was named the winner of the NL Willie Mays Award for best rookie, but Jason Heyward was our vote.
Today, we’re submitting our ballots for the Goose Gossage Award, going to the best reliever in each league. Once again, Jim and I had to do very little — if any — debating on our placement.
1. Carlos Marmol, Chicago – The Chicago Cubs may not have been playing meaningful baseball in September, but Marmol was still the most impressive reliever of the entire year in the National League. The right-hander compiled a ridiculous 15.99 K/9 strikeout rate, which was good for best in the entire league. Hitters had absolutely no chance against his slider. That pitch, by itself, was rated +19 runs above average on the season. No one had better stuff in 2010, and that correlated to a 2.01 FIP on the year. Pure filth.
2. Brian Wilson, San Francisco – Crazy antics, hairstyles, and clothing aside, the Giants’ closer was unbelievable in 2010. He converted the most multi-inning saves in the league and rode his big fastball to a 1.81 ERA. It is conceivable that the Giants may not have made the playoffs without Wilson, as his leverage index was the highest in the National League. A lesser pitcher in those situations would have yielded worse results, and in the tight NL West, that may have not been good enough.
3. Billy Wagner, Atlanta – Coming back from a serious arm injury, nobody could have predicted Billy Wagner would enjoy such success in 2010. The 38-year-old lefty posted a 13.50 K/9 strikeout rate and coupled that with an above-average walk rate. Though set to retire, he proved he still had a lethal fastball/slider combination and ended the season with a career-best 1.43 ERA. Not a bad way to ride off into the sunset.