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.”
Posted: August 05, 2012 at 07:18 AM | 12 comment(s)
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