Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/10/13
Craig Kimbrel has dominated like no closer in recent memory, and maybe like no closer in distant memory. Using advanced stats like WAR, his value to Atlanta is measurable (3.6 WAR last year). Using advanced stats like PSR, his value to your fantasy team is measurable as well (5.03 PSR last year, 85th in the league). But unfortunately, his value in fantasy is limited because of the amount of innings he throws. There’s no doubt that his 42 saves last year were great, but there were four other pitchers who had at least as many (Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Rafael Soriano, Jason Motte). His 121 strikeouts were astounding, but plenty of closers finished the year with 60+ Ks, and it’s not that hard to make up the other 40-60 strikeouts by picking up 8-10 good starting pitching options over the standard 22-26-week fantasy season. His 1.01 ERA and 0.65 WHIP were downright dominating, but their impact was limited by the 62.2 innings he threw. Our handy ERA Conversion Table lets you look at what that 1.01 ERA would equate to over different innings pitched, and Kimbrel’s performance was worth as much as a starting pitcher with a 2.93 ERA over 180 innings, a 3.08 ERA over 210 innings, or a 3.18 ERA over 240 innings. There’s no doubt all of those rates are hugely valuable, but it’s not like his ERA equivalents are unheard of by starting pitcher standards. Last year there were nine starters who posted an ERA of 3.08 or better in at least 210 innings. At a Glance Strengths: SV, K, ERA, WHIP, K/9, OBA Neutral: W, IP Weaknesses: none Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: repeat of 2012 Likely scenario: better than Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), Jason Motte (STL), Joe Nathan (TEX) Worst-case scenario: repeat of 2011 Craig Kimbrel 2013 Fantasy Projection It’s not Kimbrel’s fault that he only pitches 60-70 innings, and it’s not our fault that we value him so low. The math tells us exactly how much value his ERA and WHIP bring, and fantasy baseball is a numbers game, pure and simple. Despite being the dominant pitcher he is, it’ll be tough — almost impossible — to replicate his 1.01 ERA and 0.65 WHIP next year. Our projected 1.44 and 0.79 marks are doable for a player of his caliber, though, and you’ll notice he’ll only need a 3.63 BB/9 and .133 OBA to reach that WHIP. Maybe you think those are conservative projection, and maybe they are, but I feel comfortable with them. When you draft Kimbrel depends a lot on your draft and team management philosophies. Some people are more active during the season than others and can pick up closers easily as the season progresses. Some people don’t operate that way and need to pursue reliable closing options to shore up the game’s most volatile fantasy category (saves). If you fall into the latter, go get your man around pick 60-75. His value won’t fall very short of that, and it’s a totally defensible pick. Just make sure you’re not an active manager who can find saves yet you find yourself drafting Kimbrel that early. Know your strengths and play to them. Kimbrel is in his prime and he’s the surest bet I can imagine as far as relievers go, so I say go ahead and target him. In deep leagues (16+ teams or NL-only) I’d actually be a little more aggressive when drafting Kimbrel because there aren’t a lot of stable closing situations around the league and there aren’t enough closers for each team to get two. If you get Kimbrel you can either fortify saves with a mid-to-low-tier option like Greg Holland or wait to see what develops for teams like Minnesota or the New York Mets. Tweet
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 unheralded NFL players set to make a major impact in Week 12

Top 10 matchups for Week 12 of the NFL season

Tyrann Mathieu says Blaine Gabbert has a ‘better grip on what’s going on’

NCAA frees Kansas blue chipper Cheick Diallo

Rockets hold in-season training camp in attempt to rebound from disastrous start

Kansas City Chiefs: No Jamaal Charles, no problem


How the Warriors can win 72 games

Frank Gifford suffered from CTE, family announces

Syracuse basketball gets one scholarship per year back

LeBron James says his back feels better than it did a year ago

Sean Payton on firing Rob Ryan: Status quo ‘would be madness’

Report: Blue Jackets listening to offers for Ryan Johansen

5 outrageous predictions for Week 12 of the NFL season

How the Detroit Lions became the face of football on Thanksgiving Day

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 college football season

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay his $2,500 fine

Jose Bautista's bat flip inspires a holiday sweater

The Kristaps Porzingis comparison project

What’s next for Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns?

Gisele Bundchen asks Tom Brady ‘all the time’ why he still plays football

Highlighting the biggest NFL games of Week 12

Greg Olsen calls Jason Witten 'the epitome of a pro'

Are Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux growing apart?

Stop sleeping on Giannis Antetokounmpo

Worst-case scenarios for end of college football season

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 matchups for Week 12 of the NFL season

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 CFB season

Gronk: Takes mental toughness not to overeat on Thanksgiving

Blue Jays fans create website in effort to keep David Price

The five most overrated teams in the Week 13 coaches' poll

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Examining the Mavericks' hot start

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

Mike Trout, four years in

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker