Call to the Pen is a member site of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. As such, we have the duty each year to cast our ballot in several postseason award categories. Similar to the BBWAA, the BBA is broken into chapters, with each chapter receiving a maximum of two votes per award. The votes will be tallied and the BBA will announce the winners via press release, and they will also be listed on the BBA homepage.
As was the case with our ballots for the Connie Mack Award and Willie Mays Award posted last week, we polled the staff here and our official ballot for the Goose Gossage Award, honoring the top relief pitcher in each league, appears after the jump.
3- Matt Thornton, Chicago WhiteSox- Thornton made his first all-star team this summer while leading the ChiSox in appearances. He allowed only three home runs all season, just one of them coming to a left handed batter. Thornton filled in nicely for closer Bobby Jenks at times this seaosn and he set a new career high with 12 strikeouts per nine innings. In total, Thornton finished up with a WHIP of 1.005 and 81 strikeouts in 60.2 innings this year.
2- Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals- The guy only blew three saves all year long and saved 43 of the team’s 67 wins. That’s just ridiculous. The Mexicutioner is probably the most underrated closer in the game today. His 1.78 ERA and 1.051 WHIP show his dominance, as does his better than 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
1- Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays- Soriano gave the Rays a dependable closer for the first time since Roberto Hernandez and helped them to a division title. Soriano lead the league in saves with 45, besting his career-high by 18. He finished with just 36 hits allowed in over 62 innings, showing a WHIP of 0.802 for the year. He also struck out more than four times as many hitters as he walked.
3- Heath Bell, San Diego Padres- Bell saved 47 games for the surprising Padres this season, and did so with a sub-two ERA. He worked 70 innings and struck out 86 batters. He walked a few too many, but limited opponents’ hits, posting a still good 1.200 WHIP and K:BB ratio of 3.07.
2- Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs- Marmol finished a league-best 70 games or the Cubs and he was probably the only part of the season that didn’t disappoint. His 38 saves was third-best in the league and he allowed just one home run in better than 77 innings. He still walks far too many hitters, but he also fanned 138 this year, far and a way a career high. That 16 K’s per nine innings, people, that’s incredible.
1- Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants- The NL leader in saves is also the Gossage award winner in our mind. Wilson has gotten progressively better in each of his three seasons as the closer for the Giants. His 1.81 ERA was a career best and he also set new marks for hits allowed, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, and K:BB ratio. He truly had a tremendous year.