Just as I was considering whether or not I should cut an SP5 type to activate Pedro Strop, Craig Kimbrel to the Cubs gets announced. Perfect timing.
BREAKING: #Cubs in agreement with free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 6, 2019
Scope out the resume for Kimbrel:
Since Craig Kimbrel’s first full season (2011), he leads all relievers in ERA (1.97), strikeouts (828) & saves (332).— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) June 6, 2019
(Min: 400 IP) pic.twitter.com/i4wL2ed3iQ
And here’s this gem from former Brave Eric O’Flaherty:
Velocity talk is a scam.— Eric O’Flaherty (@EOF34) June 3, 2019
All that matters for Craig is throwing strikes. That’s it. That’s the only challenge for him on a baseball field. He had a shit year (by his standards) last year and opponents hit .145 off him. They’ve hit .154 for his entire career. That is just stupid. https://t.co/SEmPjxhfKp
Kimbrel’s 17.2% swinging strike rate in 2018 is the third-highest mark of his career. The 31-year-old averaged 97.1 mph on his heater last year. His walk rate did balloon to 12.6%, but he still found a way to muster 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA. Here’s an insane Kimbrel stat:
Craig Kimbrel career MLB ranks— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 6, 2019
(Minimum 500 innings)
ERA+ 211 1st
K% 41.6% 1st
WHIP 0.920 2nd
Opp BA .154 1st
He's the only pitcher in MLB history with more saves (333) than hits allowed (285); minimum 2 saves
More saves than hits allowed? Nuts. Kimbrel bumps Strop out of the closer’s role, likely as soon as two weeks or so from now. Steve Cishek, too, loses all value (if we are talking saves). Those guys are on borrowed time, as it shouldn’t take Kimbrel too long to tune-up and start throwing gas in the ninth for the Cubbies. I’d cut either of them as soon as possible for any form of discernible upside, as Cishek nailed down a shaky save last night (a day after Strop had his turn in the ninth). I can see these two cannibalizing each other over the next couple of weeks with regard to saves chances.
The Cubs have had 23 saves chances so far in 2019, and Steamer is projecting 21 saves for Kimbrel for the rest of the year. I suppose that sounds about right, but I could also see that number a wee bit higher.
Now let’s get some Dallas Keuchel to Atlanta news, eh?