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Texas BBA Chapter Selects Tigers' Jose Valverde as Top Reliever

Bob Lemon once said that the two most important things in life were good friends and a good bullpen.  Good relief pitchers can sometimes be tough to spot or develop, but once you find one, you hang onto him.  I don't think my three nominees for the Goose Gossage Award will have any problem with job security.

Although I'm currently battling disdain for him, Jose Valverde (Detroit Tigers) belongs on my ballot too.  49 saves in 49 opportunities.  That's nails, folks.  He walked 34 and struck out 69.  That might be a few too many free passes, but his record shows they didn't hurt him all that much.  Opponents only hit .207 off of him.  I can see why Jim Leyland has marched him out there so much during the ALCS.  I'd probably trust him too.

Until he retires, Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees) will always be on this list for me.  Sure, he has been beaten a few times, but that just proves he's human.  And that's a relief because otherwise, he's really scary dominant.  When he comes into the game against your team, you know your backs are against the wall.  In 2011, he recorded 44 saves, striking out 60 and walking just eight in 61.1 innings of work.

Of course, Rivera can't do his job as well without a good setup man.  David Robertson (New York Yankees) is just that.  The hold is an underappreciated stat, and Robertson has 34 of them.  Opponents only hit .187 off of him, and he recorded 100 strikeouts versus 35 walks.  Yikes. The back of the bullpen is of little concern for the Yankees.


Honorable mentions:  Jonathan Papelbon (Boston Red Sox), Greg Holland (Kansas City Royals) and Mike Adams (Texas Rangers).


I tallied my votes with those of 40-Year Rangers Fan, and our collective ballot looks like this:

1. Jose Valverde (Detroit Tigers)

2. (TIE)  Mariano Rivera and David Robertson (New York Yankees)


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