In the third of FanSided’s yearly award presentations, Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves has been named the National League Relief Pitcher of the Year. The announcement was first made over at our flagship site, Call to the Pen, where you can check out the voting totals of the FanSided MLB staff members and see the articles regarding the official award presentations (Click here for NL and here for AL).
Craig Kimbrel emerged as the winner in runaway fashion in the NL, while Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde edged out Mariano Rivera of the Yankees in the AL. John Axford of the Brewers and Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates rounded out the top three in the National League. My ballot consisted of Craig Kimbrel, John Axford, and Jason Motte.
Not surprisingly, this is the second FanSided award that Kimbrel has won (Rookie & Reliever of the Year). I’m sure he’s just thrilled about it. The 23-year-old compiled an NL-best 46 saves and a 3.2 WAR as the Braves’ 2011 ninth inning man, both of which are rookie reliever records. Quite frankly, I think Jason Motte deserved a bit more consideration, but he put together an incredible season nonetheless.
Stay tuned for the upcoming announcements of the top pitchers and players of the 2011 MLB season.
In case you missed the previous award winners: