The FanSided community has voted and the overwhelming choice for AL Reliever of the Year is Jose Valverde. Mariano Rivera came in second in the voting, and David Robertson was a distant third. As for my own ballot? I too had these guys in my Top 3, but in a different order.
In my opinion, Robertson earned top billing as Reliever of the Year. Mo was my second choice, and Valverde got my third vote.
Sure, it is a sexy choice to give these awards to closers (and closers are generally closers because they are by definition amazing relievers), but this year Robertson was better than any AL closer. As a Yankees fan I was fortunate enough to watch Robertson pitch almost all of his 66.2 innings, during which he allowed a mere 9 runs while striking out an even 100. That, my friends, is dominance.
I understand the arguments in favor of Valverde. He did, after all, go 49-for-49 in save attempts, and it’s hard to argue with results. But in Valverde’s 72.1 innings this season he allowed 21 runs (18 of which were earned) and struck out 69. Valverde’s 2.24 ERA was over a run higher than D-Rob’s 1.08, and batters had a slightly higher average against Valverde (.198) than they did against Robertson (.170). They both had great seasons, but at the end of the day I would rather have Robertson on the mound late in a game, and that is why he got my vote over Valverde.
So how would you guys have ranked ‘em? Let us know in the comments who your AL Reliever of the Year was!