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Sunday, August 05, 2012

ajc: Kimbrel’s dizzying pace: 50 K’s, 1 walk past 28 innings

I guess staying that extra year at Enhanceville, Ala. was worth it…

After striking out all three Houston batters he faced in the ninth inning Friday, Kimbrel had an absurd 50 strikeouts and one walk in 28 innings over his past 28 appearances.

“I’d put him up there in the same category with [Eric] Gagne among the guys I’ve caught,” said veteran Braves backup catcher David Ross, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 when Gagne won the National League Cy Young Award, converting all 55 of his save opportunities and posting a 1.20 ERA with 137 strikeouts and 20 walks in 82-1/3 innings.

“When Gagne was on that streak [84 consecutive saves converted] it was a joke; he wasn’t on the same playing field as anybody else,” Ross said. “I put Craig in that category, of guys I’ve caught. I was on a team with [Trevor] Hoffman, I was on a team with Wags [Billy Wagner] and with Gagne. Three of the top closers in the game for periods of time. And Craig’s in that category for me.”

After posting a 2.10 ERA with a 4-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 2011, when he tied for the NL saves lead (46) and was a unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year, Kimbrel has been even better in 2012.

He had a 1.29 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 11 walks in 42 innings before Saturday. He was tied for the league lead with 31 saves (in 33 chances) and had a majors-leading 6.0 runners allowed per nine innings. No other reliever was below 7.0.

“He’s so young that you hate to say ‘finished product],’” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “But he is pretty close.”

Repoz Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:18 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4200889)
Chapman or Kimbrel?
   2. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4200953)
Someone made the point in another Kimbrel thread that the really impressive aspect of Kimbrel's season was the improvement in his control. That was always the question mark with Craig: the stuff was there and so were the strikeout totals, but he had some seasons in the minors where he put up positively horrific walk rates. He wasn't exactly Maddux-like in his first exposure to the bigs in 2010, either. But if Kimbrel's going to keep walking fewer than 2.5 hitters per nine innings, the only thing that can slow him down is injury.
   3. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4200966)
Chapman or Kimbrel?
i think you have to take chapman based on the fact that he uses much less effort to generate his velocity. that's no guarantee of better health in the near and far future, but i think it's a strong indicator of the likelihood of better health in the near and far future.
   4. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4201068)
Fangraphs has Kimbrel throwing a curve rather than a slider this year, though it would be a pretty damn hard curveball at 86 mph--basically the same speed as his slider in the past. Is he better able throw this modified breaking ball for strikes?
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4201148)
"He was tied for the league lead with 31 saves (in 33 chances) and had a majors-leading 6.0 runners allowed per nine innings. No other reliever was below 7.0."

Huston Street has allowed 9 hits and 7 walks (and 3 ER) in 32 IP. Only 42 K and 18 SV (and a DL stint), I know, but that seems pretty good even in Petco half the time.
And he has a cool father - James Street went 20-0 as Texas QB including the 1969-70 national title.
   6. Boxkutter Posted: August 05, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4201158)
Kimbrel: 15.64 K/9 -- 3.64 H/9 -- 2.36 BB/9 -- 0.64 WHIP -- 6.00 R/9
Chapman: 16.77 K/9 -- 4.02 H/9 -- 2.35 BB/9 -- 0.71 WHIP -- 7.04 R/9

The big difference is that Chapman has hit four batters while Kimbrel hasn't hit any. In a small sample size like 50 innings, that adds over half a runner per 9.
   7. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:09 PM (#4201161)
Chapman trivia: he's actually posting the highest opponents' slugging of his big league career (3rd yr) this season ... .220.

Chapman: .125/.205/.220 (this yr); .144/.266/.215 (career)
Kimbrel: .120/.183/.169; .153/.245/.202
   8. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: August 05, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4201166)
I love the numbers in post six. Kimbrel is striking out more than 15 1/2 hitters per nine innings...and he's still more than a strikeout per nine behind Chapman.
   9. Brian White Posted: August 05, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4201207)
One other interesting thing: Kimbrel is very quickly morphing into a groundball pitcher (well, when hitters are able to put it in play). In 2010, he had a 0.56 GB/FB ratio. Last year it was 1.12, this year it's 1.76. I suppose his improved control is doing this - he's throwing more pitches on the corner, which results in more cue shots off the end of the bat and broken bat bouncers. In 2010, he was chucking the ball at the center of the strike zone as hard as he could, and relying on velocity and movement to get hitters out, and when someone couldn't get around on a letter-high fastball down the middle, it was generally popped straight up.

Also worth noting is that Chapman is going in the other direction in regards to GB/FB ratio. Small sample size qualifiers obviously apply to both, since they're really not allowing very many balls in play.
   10. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 05, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4201235)
The one walk was just on Thursday to someone named Bryan Petersen. Before that he had gone a solid two and a half months without a walk. That'll do.
   11. Boxkutter Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4201277)
The one walk was just on Thursday to someone named Bryan Petersen.


That's Petey from the Petey and LoMo Show.
   12. Shock Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4201280)
Somehow I just have a hard time getting excited about 42 innings, no matter how good.

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