Padres Editorial: Craig Kimbrel By the Numbers


Jul 1, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) prepares to deliver a pitch to a New York Mets batter in the ninth inning of their game at Turner Field. The Braves won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have a new closer, and he is nasty.

Craig Kimbrel has come to the San Diego Padres, making the Padres pitching staff among the best in the entire league.As a self proclaimed “baseball nerd”, I have been diving into the numbers beyond the saves and strikeouts.

We will start with those first though. In his four seasons as the Atlanta Braves closer, he earned All-Star bids in all four seasons and collected 185 saves; which is 46.25 saves per season.

Not yet 27 years old, he has already won numerous awards, including the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year and also the inaugural Trevor Hoffman Award – given to the National League’s top reliever.

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Four years in a row he has led the league in saves. He is sixth all-time among active closers. He also had at least 95 strikeouts in all four seasons. Last season he was fifth in the major leagues in strikeouts per nine innings with 13.86. That is an important stat because you want your closer to miss bats, especially as the games are close and one swing could ruin a win. He was second only to Aroldis Chapman in batting average against. Opposing hitters managed just a .142 average against Kimbrel.

What I like about Kimbrel is that he is just as effective against left-handed hitters as he is against righties. He also has an 1.11 ERA at home, which was Turner Field. Now imagine that ERA with half of his games at Petco Park. Could he reach below 1.00? Another thing I love about Kimbrel is that he seems to get better as the year goes on. During the first half of the season, he has a career ERA of 1.80. It gets even better in the second half, with a career ERA of 0.98.

He has three career appearances at Petco Park. He has allowed one earned run and struck out four with a save. He has a 2.16 ERA in eight games against the Padres total.

Yet again, A.J. Preller has acquired someone with playoff experience. He has six playoff experiences with a 1.35 ERA and one save. He also has 15 total saves in NL West ballparks.

This acquisition goes beyond his save numbers. The Padres can shorten games by having a solid back-end of a bullpen, and they have that with Joaquin Benoit and Kimbrel. Kimbrel just has that “closer stuff” that Benoit doesn’t necessarily have.

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