Posts Tagged ‘Joe Nathan’

Albert_Pujols

In no other sport do “magic numbers” mean more than in baseball. And while if the validity of such automatic qualifier numbers is still current, or needs to be revised for today’s game is another debate completely, there are still round numbers that prove excellence has been met for a long enough time to take note.

Each new summer brings a chance for a new chance for certain career mile-markers to be met each summer. This summer is no exception, as a few standout marks will be met. On the heels of his recent announcement to retire following the season, Derek Jeter will put the finishing touches on his legacy, which will see him move through the top 10 all-time in hits—and potential reach an awe inspiring cap.

Likewise, Albert Pujols will begin to touch some of the hallowed marks that his effort has long forecasted, as will Miguel Cabrera. More surprisingly however, is what the summer could represent for Adrian Beltre, who is on the cusp of several numbers that will begin to create a completely different connotation for his body of work.

Here are the major career milestones that stand to be met in the 2014 MLB campaign.

HITS

3,500 Hits

3,316—Derek Jeter is 184 hits short of becoming the sixth player ever to reach 3,500 hits. He is 199 hits away from moving ahead of Tris Speaker for fifth place all-time (3,514).

2,500 Hits

2,426—Adrian Beltre will easily surpass the 2,500 level and enters an important year towards making a decisive push towards getting aligned for a shot at 3,000 in his late prime at age 35.

2,000 Hits

1,996—Miguel Cabrera is four hits (or a game and a half for him) away.

1,993—Raul Ibanez is seven hits short of the mark at age 41.

HOME RUNS

500 Home Runs

492—Albert Pujols has hit a home run one per every 14.9 per at-bats in his career, and enters the season eight shy. Not that there was any doubt about his legacy, but this is the first in a line of major posts to be met by the three-time MVP.

450 Home Runs

440—Adam Dunn is ten way, and has hit one per every 14.7 at-bats in his career. It is not certain if he’ll continue after 2014, but he would be safely in range of 500 if he plays through 2015.

438—Paul Konerko is 12 short, and has homered once per every 18.9 at-bats in his career, but will be in a part-time role.

431—David Ortiz is 19 short, and has not had a season with less than 20 in a year since 2001.

400 Home Runs

376—Adrian Beltre, and he has averaged 32 per season over the past four years.

365—Miguel Cabrera is 35 away and has hit not had season total below 44 since 2011.

RUNS BATTED IN

1,500 RBI

1,498—Albert Pujols will meet the mark easily.

1,000 RBI

966—Matt Holliday should meet the mark by the All-Star Break at the latest.

963—Ryan Howard (health abiding) should move past the 1,000 mark. He’s never had a season with fewer than 43 RBI.

500 DOUBLES

495—Adrian Beltre will easily surpass the next milestone in his signature hit in the first month of the year.

200 WINS

189—Bartolo Colon is 11 shy of hitting the 200 mark, due to his late career resurgence in Oakland.

186—Mark Buehrle enters the year 14 victories short of the level. However, if history speaks for the future, he’ll have to wait until next summer—he has won 13 in four of the past five years, and has not topped 13 since 2008.

18yankees-sabathia-articleLarge

2,500 STRIKEOUTS

2,389—CC Sabathia will become the ninth left-hander ever to surpass 2,500 strikeouts this summer, joining Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Mickey Lolich, Frank Tanana, Chuck Finley, Tom Glavine, Warren Spahn and Jerry Koosman.

SAVES

350 Saves

341—Joe Nathan enters the year nine saves shy of becoming the ninth player to ever accumulate 350, and has a shot to reach as high as seventh all-time this summer.

300 Saves

286—Jonathan Papelbon stands to shoot up past the middle-tier of closers historically and into near elite standing this year. With his standard 30+ saves he not only passes 300, but to pass into the top 10 next year.

286—Jose Valverde he was signed by the Mets last week to provide bullpen depth, so there’s no clear road to 300, but if he somehow ends up in the role due to an injury to Bobby Parnell he could meet it.

 

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates

There is no job in the game with a more concise, to the point job description than being a relief pitcher: get out there and get the job done, quickly. While this happens in far more than just the ninth inning, more often than not, eventually the most prevailing non-starters will find their way to the game’s final frame to deploy their craft.

Some are built for it, some aren’t, but while the save stat can often be misleading on a pitcher’s effectiveness; it does in many cases show who has the confidence of their club to weigh the team’s day-to-day success squarely on their shoulders.

It is a new day for the race for the head of the table in the world of elite relievers, as the unapproachable greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, has finished his final game. Yet while the standard setter is gone, the cupboard is far from bare, as there are an impressive and menacing group of late game arms vying for elite status either in or around the game’s most important inning.

Because to reach the upper rungs of this group, simply means you are among the most indispensable players in the game today—here are the top guns setting the new standard today.

10. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals: Only a few blow the eye test out of the water quicker than the new closer in St. Louis does. He had 29 holds and ran up 103 strikeouts as a rookie, before assuming the ninth inning in the postseason—and establishing a strangle hold on the role going ahead. In two career scoreless postseasons, over 20 innings he has surrendered only six hits against 33 strikeouts.

9. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: Steady and effective, the fiery and sometimes boastful Papelbon has the attitude that seals the deal—and is bred from his type of results. He has only finished one of his eight full seasons south of 30 saves, but is coming off a career-high seven blown save effort. But his track record indicates that’s an exception over a rule.

8. David Robertson, Yankees: It is no small task replacing the greatest closer of all-time, but Robertson has performed up to the task. As a setup man, he had a 1.91 ERA over the past three seasons and since 2010, is 325 strikeouts are nearly 30 more than any American League reliever.

Balfour_Rays

7. Grant Balfour, Rays: If he continues at the level he has been at over the past three years, the Orioles may have made the error of the offseason backing out of their pact with him. Since leaving Tampa in 2011, he has run up 64 saves and 41 holds, and has failed to convert only 5 of his last 83 save situations.

6. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers: An important part of the Dodger ship righting itself was giving Jansen the ball back to in the ninth, and he took the role in an impressive fashion. He struck out 111 in 78 innings, in route to 28 saves and a 1.88 ERA.

5. Greg Holland, Royals: The overpowering Holland made the most of his chance to anchor the superb Royals bullpen, leading all AL relievers with 103 strikeouts, amid a miniscule 1.21 ERA. He closed out 47 games, while only failing on three save attempts, settling a Royals record high in the process.

4. Joe Nathan, Tigers: He re-affirmed his slightly hidden status as one of the great closers of all-time with a vintage effort in Arlington. Two years removed from elbow surgery, he turned in 43 saves on a 1.38 ERA, including closing out a memorable All-Star Game. With his next save, he will break a tie with Rollie Fingers for tenth all-time.

3. Koji Uehara, Red Sox: A long-dominant setup man, Uehara moved to the ninth halfway through the year and began to author one of the greatest relief seasons in MLB history. After June 1, he surrendered one earned run for the remainder of the season, finishing with a 1.09 ERA and 101 strikeouts. At one point, he retired 37 straight batters—good for 12.1 perfect innings.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks

2. Aroldis Chapman, Reds: When he is on his game, he is the most intimidating and unhittable pitcher in the game. Armed with a fastball that lives over 100 mph on most days, and a slider that appears as if it is going to run straight through the batter, before dying at the last second, batters have survived to a .154 average against him to start his career. Over the last two years, he has struck out 50 more batters than innings pitched.

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves: He has been the game’s premier closer since day one of assuming the role. Over his three year career, he has led the NL in saves each season, and done so in an undeniably dominant fashion. For his career, he has averaged 15.1 strikeouts per nine innings (381 K’s in 227 innings) and has converted 139 out of 154 career chances. He’s a two pitch pitcher that can choose which one he wants to win with on any given day. And at only age 25, he’s set a curve that should be his for a long while.

Just A Bit Outside: Sergio Romo, Glen Perkins, Jim Johnson

Thanks for following this year’s ‘Top 10, Today’ countdown. Head over to I-70 Baseball to recap the rundown over the next few days, via a slideshow format and recap. For in the moment analysis, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

Ellsbury jumped ship from Boston for the Bronx, and collected the third biggest outfield deal ever to do so.

Ellsbury jumped ship from Boston for the Bronx, collecting the third biggest outfield deal ever to do so.

Yesterday may very well have been the busiest day in baseball transaction history. From the Tigers continuing their subtle overhaul in the morning, to the Yankees making yet another cannonball into the free agent pool later in the night, baseball’s landscape was turned over as quick as a third inning infield.

As a matter of fact, it happened so quick that the most recent Top 60 rankings of the free agent field, which posted late yesterday afternoon, was made to be outdated in the matter of about one hour. So in response to the rapid fire day that was Transaction Tuesday, here is a breakdown of each signing, with the benefits (and sometimes fallouts) of the deal struck within the last few days.

Updated Top 50 Free Agents list to come out shorty, to preview the surefire hurricane of moves to come at this weekend’s MLB Winter Meetings as well

2. Jacoby Ellsbury-Center Fielder-30 years old-2013 Team: Boston Red Sox

Signed: New York Yankees—7 years, $153 million (with options)

The Yankees made the biggest commitment of the winter so far, in locking up one of the best top of the order presences in the game. Ellsbury gives an instant boost to the speed potential (AL-best 52 steals in 2013) of the team, and when coupled with Brett Gardner, gives the team a formidable defensive outfield duo as well. His injury history will always be brought up, but on many fronts, this was a very strong move for the Yanks.

18. Joe Nathan-Relief Pitcher-39 years old-2013 Team: Texas Rangers

Signed: Texas Rangers—2 years, $20 million

The Tigers wasted no time in putting back out money they saved via the trades that moved Prince Fielder and Doug Fister out of town recently. Nathan represents a much needed absolute presence in what has been a questionable backend of the Detroit pen for years now. Coming off of another elite season in the ninth inning (43 saves, 1.39 ERA), he is primed to continue as one of the game’s best.

21. Ricky Nolasco-Starting Pitcher-31 years old-2013 Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers/Miami Marlins

Signed: Minnesota Twins—4 years, $48 million

Twins starting pitching was the worst in baseball last summer, sporting a 5.26 ERA spread over 11 different arms. Bringing Nolasco on is not a look for a single fix, but to offer a dependable option somewhere in the mix. They overpaid some for his services, but desperation will lead to things like that.

26. Jarrod Saltalamacchia-Catcher-29 years old-2013 Team: Boston Red Sox

Signed: Florida Marlins—3 years, $21 million

He played the waiting game with Boston, and in the end lost out. However, the Marlins are the winners in adding a winner to work behind the plate, as well as some much needed depth to the lineup. The switch-hitter raised his average over 50 points in 2013, but could lose some of his power numbers in his cavernous new home.

38. Scott Kazmir-Starting Pitcher-30 years old-2013 Team: Cleveland Indians

Signed: Oakland Athletics—2 years, $22 million

Oakland made a big commitment to Kazmir on the heels of his comeback season, as a part of their increasingly all-in approach for next summer. If he can stay healthy for a second straight year, it’s a good deal but if not, it could be a return to woes that previous deals with Brett Anderson and Rich Harden brought to the Bay.

49. Dioner Navarro-Catcher-30 years old-2013 Team: Chicago Cubs

Signed: Toronto Blue Jays—2 years, $8 million

Toronto made the decision to cut its losses with the boom-or-bust J.P. Arencibia, and Navarro represented a cost controlled option to do so with. In 89 games as the part-time backstop in Chicago, he hit .300 and struck out only 36 times in 266 plate appearances.

50. Justin Morneau-First Baseman-33 years old-2013 Teams: Minnesota Twins/Pittsburgh Pirates

Signed: Colorado Rockies—2 years, $13 million

While he’s not the player he was at his MVP peak anymore, neither is he the one he was just a few years ago where his future was in doubt completely due to injuries. He hit 17 home runs, including 9 in August, and could represent a fine, low-cost replacement for Todd Helton that could be in for a slight return back to his previous form.

52. A.J. Pierzynski-Catcher-37 years old-2013 Team: Texas Rangers

Signed: Boston Red Sox—1 year, $8.25 million

The Red Sox stayed on the same path that they took last winter; adding a veteran to their core that will work in a timeshare. Pierzynski will join David Ross has the catching tandem in Boston, as well as yet another injection of character into a team full of it.

60. Ryan Vogelsong-Starting Pitcher-36 years old-2013 Team: San Francisco Giants

Resigned: Giants—1 year, $3 million

Vogelsong had a down season in comparison to his 2011-12, but that works in the Giants favor, as they were able to resign him at a non-hazardous $3 million deal. This rounds out their rotation, and is a very escapable commitment if he once again cannot find his way.

67. Paul Konerko-First Baseman-38 years old-2013 Team: Chicago White Sox

Resigned: White Sox—1 year, TBA

The White Sox franchise cornerstone has decided to return for what will most likely be his final year with the team. With the presence of Adam Dunn and the signing of Jose Dariel Abreu, his role will be more of a part-time/ceremonial one, which will give him a chance to do a victory lap and be an added bench bat.

69. Kelly Johnson-Second Baseman-32 years old-2013 Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Signed: New York Yankees—1 year, $3 million

With the ability to play second base, as well as throughout the outfield, Johnson was acquired to be the Yankees utility man ideally, but to also be a safety net if Robinson Cano does not return.

75. Phil Hughes-Starting Pitcher-27 years old-2013 Team: New York Yankees

Signed: Minnesota Twins—3 years, $24 million

Continuing their quest to add quality innings, the Twins inked Hughes to slide into the top half of their rotation as well. However, the length of the deal is all wrong, as it is a serious commitment to a guy that posted a ERA’s that have surpassed 5.00 two of the last three years.

The Tigers filled one of their long-standing glaring needs with Joe Nathan earlier today.

The Tigers filled one of their long-standing glaring needs with Joe Nathan earlier today.

Here is the latest of the greatest around the rumor mill for the current ranks. Before the next Cut The Check signings recap drops, here is where it all stands right now, headed into this weekend’s MLB Winter Meetings, the busiest and most active stretch of transactions of the baseball year.

  • The Yankees and Robinson Cano appear to have reached a standoff, and it is one that is separated by about $80 million mile markers. This is the type of divide that leaves no other choice but for other teams to enter the fray, and by the looks of it, the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals could enter the Winter Meetings with a true, legit shot at landing baseball’s premier second baseman.
  • The outfield scene is starting to shift some. Carlos Beltran has been the most widely rumored and courted property available, and he has already received a three-year offer that is touching nearly $50 million from one of his suitors, that is yet to be revealed. Meanwhile, the scene for Jacoby Ellsbury has heated up over the last week, with the Red Sox reemerging as candidates to retain him, and the Yankees weighing him as a serious option too. Shin-Soo Choo has remained a hot property, but there is a link between several of the same locations for him, Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz. The first of which signs likely sees the others follow suit with a similarly interest team that lost out on another.
  • The Yankees have begun to look to work on their rotation issues as well, and have extended an offer to Hiroki Kuroda.
  • The Twins could still add another arm after Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, in their search to amend one of baseball’s worst units in 2013
  • There are a few teams that are waiting out the scene to see who emerges after the dust settles on the big tag players available over the next few weeks. The teams that are primed to get involved at the point are led by the Mets, Rockies and Phillies, all of which could emerge with some substantial acquisitions at a more reasonable cost for their respective situations.

But with that said, here is the current lay of the land on the rumor mill, as this is the last update before the Winter Meetings this weekend start to clear off the chalkboard in a major way. The next update will have new names inserted in from the non-tendered players.

  1. Robinson Cano-2B: Yankees, Mariners, Nationals
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury-CF: Red Sox, Yankees, Mariners, Cubs
  3. Shin-Soo Choo-RF: Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Reds, Tigers
  4. Matt Garza-RHP: Yankees, Twins, Angels, Orioles, Nationals
  5. Carlos Beltran-RF/DH: Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Mariners, Indians, Reds
  6. Ubaldo Jimenez-RHP: Yankees, Nationals, Angels
  7. Nelson Cruz-RF/DH: Rangers, Mets, Mariners, A’s, Orioles
  8. Mike Napoli-1B: Red Sox, Rockies
  9. Ervin Santana-RHP: Angels, Yankees, Twins, Royals
  10. Masahiro Tanaka-RHP: Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Japan
  11. Stephen Drew-SS: Dodgers, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox
  12. Curtis Granderson-LF: Mets, Yankees, Cubs, White Sox
  13. Hiroki Kuroda-RHP: Yankees, Angels, Japan
  14. Joe Nathan-RHP: Signed w/ Tigers (2 yrs/TBA)
  15. Grant Balfour-RHP: Yankees, Rockies, Tigers, Rays
  16. Kendrys Morales-1B: Mariners, White Sox, Indians, Mets
  17. Ricky Nolasco-RHP: Signed w/ Twins (4 years, $49 million)
  18. Fernando Rodney-RHP: Indians, Rays, Cubs
  19. Omar Infante-2B: Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Yankees
  20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia-C: Signed w/ Marlins (3 years, $22 million)
  21. Joaquin Benoit-RHP: Phillies, Tigers
  22. Brian Wilson-RHP: Dodgers
  23. Edward Mujica-RHP: Phillies, Angels, Tigers, Yankees
  24. A.J. Burnett-RHP: Pirates
  25. Nate McLouth-LF: Orioles, Yankees
  26. Bronson Arroyo-RHP: Angels, Twins, Giants, Phillies
  27. Bartolo Colon-RHP: Marlins, Angels
  28. Scott Kazmir-LHP: Signed w/ Athletics (2 yrs, $22 million)
  29. Jesse Crain-RHP: Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs
  30. Corey Hart-1B/RF: Brewers, Mets, Pirates
  31. James Loney-1B: Rays, Rockies, Pirates
  32. Chris Perez-RHP: Astros, Athletics, Tigers
  33. Raul Ibanez-DH: Yankees
  34. Boone Logan-LHP: Yankees
  35. Gavin Floyd-RHP: Twins, Orioles
  36. Jason Kubel-OF/DH:
  37. Michael Morse-OF:
  38. Dioner Navarro-C: Signed w/ Blue Jays (2 yrs, $8 million)
  39. Justin Morneau-1B: Rockies
  40. Scott Downs-LHP:
  41. A.J. Pierzynski-C: Signed w/ Red Sox (1 yr, $8.25 million)
  42. Matt Albers-RHP:
  43. Scott Feldman-RHP: Orioles
  44. J.P. Howell-LHP:
  45. Ryan Vogelsong-RHP: Resigned w/ Giants (1 yr, $3 million)
  46. Rafael Furcal-SS: Mets, Royals
  47. Scott Baker-RHP: Cubs,
  48. Jose Veras-RHP:
  49. Garrett Jones-OF (new, non-tendered):
  50. Jason Hammel-RHP: Giants
  51. Kevin Gregg-RHP:
  52. Juan Uribe-3B: Dodgers
  53. Chris Capuano-LHP: Twins
  54. Paul Konerko-1B: White Sox, Retirement
  55. Barry Zito-LHP:
  56. Kelly Johnson-2B: Yankees,
  57. Joba Chamberlain-RHP: Royals, Braves, Giants, Astros
  58. Phil Hughes-RHP: Signed w/ Twins (3 yrs, $24 million)
  59. Francisco Rodriguez-RHP:
  60. Mark Ellis-2B: Orioles

Arizona Diamondbacks v Boston Red Sox

The first 162 (and even 163) have come and gone, the playoffs have had their day and the Red Sox have the year’s title in hand (and beard). Now is the part of the year where time both looks forward, with free agency, but backwards as well, as it is time to honor the very best of the best from the year that was.

For the third year here in the CHEAP SEATS, the wrap on the baseball books for the year will be done via my vote for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards, which serves as the collective vote for the network of independent sites which chronicle the game throughout the year. Each is named after a past performer that has embodied the best of what he does, and the CSP submissions will start, at the end, by rewarding the best relief pitchers in each league.

2013 American League Goose Gossage Reliever of the Year—KOJI UEHARA, Boston Red Sox

For many, the spotlight was shined on Koji Uehara only this October, when he took the act his act to the highest stage in the postseason. But for anybody that’s followed the Red Sox across the course of the season, this was probably when Uehara was at his most mortal throughout the year, mostly because he actually gave up hits by then.

In a season that saw him be a jack of all trades in the Red Sox pen, starting has a bridge reliever in the seventh inning, to not only being passed over for the closer role three, but four times. Yet eventually, John Farrell realized there was no other place for the type of dominance his veteran righty was displaying to be place. Armed with only two pitches, a splitter, which he occasionally offset with a fastball that realistically sat in the high 80’s, but looked like it was topping 100 when following said splitter, he mowed through the Majors this season. Batters managed only a .130 average against him this season, has he surrendered only 33 hits across 74.1 innings.

A further look inside of that stinginess makes an even greater point: Uehara was the toughest reliever to reach base against in baseball history this season. Let that sink in for a second, and now let’s continue. In between those scattered hits, he struck out 101 batters, while walking only nine, which equates to an insane 0.57 WHIP, the lowest such number in baseball history. He fell behind in the count only 11 times the entire season, threw a de facto Perfect Game (plus some) by retiring 34 consecutive batters from August 21 to September 17th. He also authored 29 consecutive scoreless innings, ran up 21 saves and 13 holds along the way. In a game that his obsessed with power stamps being put on the end of games, Uehara redefined how dominance can be finessed as well, and with more effectiveness than ever seen before.

The Rest:

2. Greg Holland—Royals: 47 saves/3 BSV, .170 average against, 103 strikeouts, 1.21 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

3.  Joe Nathan—Rangers: 43 Saves/3 BSV, .162 average against, 73 strikeouts, 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

4. Mariano Rivera—Yankees: 44 saves/7 BSV, .236 average against, 54 strikeouts, 2.11 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

5. Grant Balfour—Athletics: 38 saves/3 BSV, .206 average against, 72 strikeouts, 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

Craig_Kimbrel

2013 National League Goose Gossage Reliever of the Year—CRAIG KIMBREL, Atlanta Braves

It is nearly to the point where this award could be named after Kimbrel, which is insane considering he’s only 25 years old. But in a game that routinely has many open ended, debatable questions, there is one that is not open for discussion: Craig Kimbrel is the best closer in the game. Open and shut case, much like the games he has an impact on.

No player has started his career on a door-slamming warpath such as Kimbrel is on; three years into his career, three times leading the NL in saves. He set a new career high with 50 in 2013, and has closed out 139 already in his career. For the second consecutive year, he allowed less than 10 earned runs and finished with a sub-1.25 ERA on a .166 average against. In the course of closing out 60 games for the second time, and showing a brilliant amount of control for the power approach he takes. While running batters off with his mixture of triple digit fastballs and virtually unhittable slider, he walked only 20 batters and surrendered 39 hits.

It could be argued that despite his eye-popping numbers that 2013 was his “worst” year statistically (which is relative to only the standard he’s set for himself). However, there was has been no season where he meant more to the Braves than this one. After injuries ravished the Atlanta pitching staff, his presence kept the boat steady for the club, by being the rock at the end of the game. He stopped any bleeding that might have reached them, and continued to be a human eight inning game creator. There aren’t many certainties in this game, but more often than not (precisely 139 times out of 154), games that meet Kimbrel meet their end soon after.

The Rest:

2. Kenley Jansen—Dodgers: 28 saves/4 BSV, 16 holds, .177 average against, 111 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

3. Aroldis Chapman—Reds: 38 saves/5 BSV, .164 average against, 112 strikeouts, 2.54 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

4. Steve Cishek—Marlins: 34 saves/2 BSV, .211 average against, 74 strikeouts, 2.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

5. Sergio Romo—Giants: 38 saves/5 BSV, .226 Average against, 58 strikeouts, 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

This is just the beginning of the awards run in at CSP. Here is the slate of my upcoming 2013 accolaides, as I wrap the year that was, before looking ahead at what’s to come this winter:

Thursday: NL/AL Willie Mays Rookie of the Year

Saturday: NL/AL Connie Mack Manager of the Year

Friday: AL Walter Johnson Pitcher of the Year Award

Monday: NL Walter Johnson Pitcher of the Year Award

Tuesday: AL Stan Musial Most Valuable Player Award

Wednesday: NL Stan Musial Most Valuable Player Award

I didn’t get as much time to dedicate to this Baseball Bloggers Alliance award ballot as others, but luckily it wasn’t a year full of choices as tough as the other categories have been. So, without the same ado as the others have been, here is my humble submission for the best curtain closers of the year.

 

2012 NL Goose Gossage Award—Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

Kimbrel put a stamp on what’s clear if you’ve been watching baseball over the last two years: he’s the best in the business at turning out the lights at the end of the night. He tied for the lead in saves this season with 42, but did it in a somehow understated, yet dominant fashion. In 62 innings, only seven runs squeezed their way out against him, and he struck out a ridiculous 116 batters against only 14 walks. That plays out in the form of 16.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a miniscule 0.65 WHIP. Pure dominance, that somehow went unnoticed…until every game versus the Braves turned into an eight inning affair somehow.

Runners up: Aroldis Chapman—Reds, Joel Hanahran—Pirates

 

2012 AL Goose Gossage Award—Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays

It wasn’t supposed to be Rodney’s job, but Kyle Farnsworth not being ready to pitch out of Spring Training became a blessing in disguise in Tampa. Rodney became the most surprising impact arm of the season, totaling 48 saves on the year, and failing to convert on only two chances. His total was good for second best in baseball, and he did so with amazing efficiency; his 0.60 ERA on the year was tops among all relievers.

Runners up: Jim Johnson—Orioles, Joe Nathan—Rangers

 

For more on the MLB Award season, including the final MVP announcements tomorrow, follow me on Twitter @CheapSeatFan