Originally written on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Key Stats: Craig Kimbrel had one of the most impressive rookie seasons in history. He led the NL with 46 saves, posted the 6th highest mark for K/9 in the history of baseball (with at least 25 IP) at 14.84 and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He did it with a fastball that averaged 96.2 mph and a slider, excuse me power curve the leaves batters looking stupid. 


Skeptics Say: There isn't much bad to say about him. Baseball News Hound scouted him back in March of 2011 and noted "He throws his hard-slider —a pitch notorious for causing elbow injuries— almost a third of the time and he could be an injury risk moving forward." Fangraphs PitchFx data shows the breaking ball being offered 30.3% of the time. Despite that comment though, he has no injury history in the minors and Baseball Prospectus doesn't have him flagged as an injury risk. His walks per nine were closer to four than they were to three which is a concern, but when you strike out 41% of the batters you face and manage a WHIP of 1.04, it's something we can let slide. I would expect as he gets older (he will still be 23 when the season starts) he will start to sacrifice some velocity for control and the control problems will become less of a problem. 

Peer Comparison: It's really hard finding someone to match up with Kimbrel. As mentioned above, his slider behaves more like a curve, or his curve behaves more like a slider, and he only uses the fastball and his 'power curve' exclusively. Brian Wilson, of the best-commercials-featuring-a-beard-ever fame, and Chris Perez also rely exclusively on a fastball/slider repertoire. Since Perez, despite having the best alter-ego on twitter, took a pretty big step back last season from 2010, we'll leave him out the discussion. I really just wanted to get the alter ego thing in here somewhere.

So Wilson and Kimbrel, Kimbrel and Wilson...Wilson IS KIMBREL!!! Not really. They both throw fastballs and "sliders" exclusively...that along with their names is really where the similarity ends. Despite Wilson's success, his career high WAR is 2.3, Kimbrel came in at 3.2. Their career high K/9 favors Kimbrel by more than 3, and Brian's career ERA is 1.42 runs worse than Craig's.

Team Outlook: Kimbrel is still really young and has Johnny Venters lurking in the shadows should he falter any. That being said, Freddie Gonzalez was quick to pull Kimbrel from the closers role for a small stretch last season when he started to struggle a little. Based on the rest of the year success that Kimbrel had one would assume he would have a slightly longer leash this year, but it's something to keep an eye on going forward.

What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline - #1 Relief Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #1 Relief Pitcher & #47 Overall; RotoChamp - #57 Overall; Mock Draft Central - #1 Relief Pitcher and #58 Overall

Projection: When reaching out to Ben Duronio for comment 146 characters of Kimble commentary or less he stated "Best reliever in the game in '11. I expect an increase in the walk rate, but also in the save percentage. Best K/9 ever." Yeah... he might not be too far off there.

3 Wins, 41 Saves, 1.60 ERA, 120 K's, 1.00 WHIP in 70 innings 



GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

The Big 12 football’s new tiebreaker procedure

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ season should turn around soon

Tristan Thompson to start Game 2 vs. Bulls

Sanchez absolutely believes he can win Eagles starting gig

49ers Ahmad Brooks accused of sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Michael Bennett wants Seahawks to trade him

Report: Duke’s Jahlil Okafor looks 'as lean as ever'

Arum: Pacquiao would agree to rematch with Mayweather

Report: NFL could punish Brady, ball boys in wake of report

Justin Verlander continues to fire back at social media critics

Bursting the NFL playoff expansion bubble

After five games, the playoffs finally start for the Warriors

Sportsbooks remove Patriots, NFL betting futures pending Deflategate punishment

McIlroy, Spieth both downplay notion of budding rivalry

The six best NBA playoff performances so far

Pierre Garcon says legalized pot could help his pizza business

Pedro Martinez: Manny spiked pregame shot with Viagra

Was keeping Andre Ethier L.A.'s best offseason move?

Nowitzki: Rondo lost to Charlie Villanueva in Connect Four

'The Mike Conley Broken Face Game' (and why he's the man)

Five NFL QBs facing make-it or break-it seasons in 2015

Jim Harbaugh: I'd love to see Judge Judy on Supreme Court

Which game statistically is most important in an NHL series?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Harbaugh: I'd love to see Judge Judy on Supreme Court

Chip Kelly: 'I won't be here' if Eagles have to draft top QB

Brewing dispute over A-Rod’s bonuses

Top eight NFL free agents on the market

Eagles' Chip Kelly & Sam Bradford: In like, but not love

Manziel moves from downtown Cleveland

Making sense of the AL East pile-up

Chris Bosh on blood clot diagnosis: ‘I’m lucky to be alive’

Projecting the All-Star Game rosters

Tiger hasn't slept in three days since Lindsey Vonn breakup

2015 NBA Draft big board, first edition

Eliminate Hack-A-Player: Don't reward violating sports rules

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.