Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/10/13
Mlb-braves-astros-mar
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
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Will soccer superstar Lionel Messi have to miss the Copa America?

Did you know Peyton Manning was "pretty close" to QBing for Titans?

WATCH: Kevin Love gives this reporter no love in press conference

OPINION: Three reasons the Penguins are a lock to win the Stanley Cup

Former NFL rusher Ricky Williams to open weed friendly gym

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: LeBron salutes Toronto fans after Game 6

FIFA Penalizes 7 countries for discriminatory acts

Report: Jets offering Ryan Fitzpatrick 3-year deal for $12M

Ezekiel Elliott bought parents a new house with his first check

Warriors, Thunder taking turns beating each other in the opposite style

Yoenis Cespedes open to spending rest of career with Mets

Christian Hackenberg: A Jet in repair

Cowboys cool on trading running backs, especially Ezekiel Elliott

Have we seen enough of Giants backup catcher Trevor Brown?

Vlasic donates $2,500 to Backes’ charity

Don't expect Florida-Miami to be an annual event says Gators AD

Georgia AD offers mea culpa for buying rapper Ludacris liquor, condoms

WATCH: This wakeboarder is clearly in the wrong sport

Cubs fans get scrappy in the streets for Kris Bryant home run ball

WATCH: Comedian Jamie Foxx nail Stephen A. Smith impersonation

WATCH: D’Angelo Russell trolled by Adam Sandler and David Spade

WATCH: LeBron jukes defender, throws down one-handed dunk

Scientists call for Rio Olympics relocation or rescheduling

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

How expanded instant replay has hurt the NBA

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker