14 October 2014

My BBA Votes: The Goose Gossage Award

Goose • Photo Credit: Alan D. WilsonCreative Commons 2.5

Every season, BBA writers vote for their choices in the Goose Gossage Award, picking the best relievers of 2014 in each league. This being a modern analytics blog, I relied primarily on the new stats to pick my votes. Stats that I leaned heavily on include Win Probability Added (WPA), Leverage-adjusted WPA (WPA/LI), Run Expectancy (RE24), Shutdowns and Meltdowns, runs allowed per nine innings (RA9), SIERA and RA9-WAR.

American League #1: Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals)

In 71 appearances for the Royals, Wade Davis allowed only eight runs. His teams win expectancy improved a full 324% while he was in the game. That 3.24 Win Probability Added (WPA) remains 2.60 when adjusted for high leverage situations (WPA/LI)--that's best among qualifying relievers. His pitching saved 24.04 runs better than average when controlling for the various base-out states (RE24), second only to my #2 choice. He shut down offenses 35 times while committing only five meltdowns, posted a qualifying best 1.00 runs allowed per nine innings (RA9), a 1.61 SIERA and a FIP of 1.19. His 3.7 RA9-WAR was second among qualifiers.

National League #1: Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Based on my analysis, the National League's best reliever in 2014 was a set-up man for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In an NL-leading 78 appearances, Watson recorded an MLB-best 44 shutdowns along with an NL-best 2.8 RA9-WAR. His WPA of 3.01 was second only to my third place choice, while among qualifying pitchers in the NL, his 16.22 RE24 was second only to the Giants' Santiago Casilla. It was tough choosing between him and my second place vote, fellow Pirate Mark Melancon.

Runners Up: American League

#2: Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

The Yanks took chances with Dellin Betances on 70 occasions, and they paid off. His 28.75 RE24 was #1 among qualifying relievers, as was his 4.18 WPA and his 3.8 RA9-WAR. His 2.55 WPA/LI was second only to Wade Davis. He shut down opposing offenses 34 times while melting down in seven appearances. My AL Willie Mays Award favorite allowed a 1.50 RA9, a 1.45 SIERA and a 1.64 FIP. To those who were curious, I had a tough time choosing between Betances and Davis before ultimately choosing the Royals' set-up man.

#3: Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

In 71 appearances, Baltimore's Zach Britton shut down opposing offenses 43 times--best among AL relievers--while only melting down on five occasions. His Shutdown-Meltdown differential was the best of 2014. His dominance is represented in his 3.27 WPA, 2.16 WPA/LI and 18.72 RE24. Britton allowed 2.01 runs per nine innings, posted a 2.14 SIERA and a 3.13 FIP en route to posting 3.1 wins above replacement.

Runners Up: National League

#2 Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Bucs closer Mark Melancon is my second lead qualifying NL relievers with a  2.13 WPA/LI in 2014. Also impressive are his 40 shutdowns (4th in the NL), 2.07 SIERA, 2.09 FIP and 2.7 RA9-WAR.

#3 Jonathan Papelbon (Philadelphia Phillies)

Papelbon looked to be back in his Red Sox-era prime this season. In 66 appearances, he posted 44 shutdowns (second only to Watson and Britton) and an MLB best Shutdown-to-Meltdown differential of 37.

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