The 2012 season was a banner campaign for Atlanta Braves pitchers, especially after the sixth inning.
Among National League clubs last year, the Braves claimed high honors in five major categories for Innings 7-9 (and beyond) -- ranking first in walks allowed (152), second in ERA (2.84), second in WHIP (1.18), third in opponents' batting average (.232) and sixth in strikeouts (462).
And all that occurred before Jordan Walden joined Atlanta's deep corps of back-end dynamos.
Here are three burning questions focusing on the state of the Braves' bullpen, as we draw closer to pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
1. Is Craig Kimbrel the National League's premier closer?
With the Reds' Aroldis Chapman (1.51 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 122 Ks last year) making the big leap to full-time starter, Kimbrel (1.01 ERA, 11614 K-BB, 0.65 WHIP, 16.7 K9 rate) suddenly doesn't have a classic rival among closers -- at least in the Senior Circuit.
Yes, Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies), Jason Mott...