Craig Kimbrel has raised eyebrows to start the 2017 season.
Kimbrel’s consistency has landed him second in the MLB with 11 saves converted on 12 opportunities. More impressively, he has punched out 33 batters while only walking 2 in a mere 16.2 innings of work.
To break down the eye-opening effect these numbers deserve, Kimbrel has struck out 56 percent of batters he has faced this season.
Not only is he making it easy for his defense, the pure sight of Kimbrel has supplied fans and teammates with automatic relief. The weight of the world rests on Kimbrel’s shoulders whenever he steps onto the mound as he holds up our spirits similarly to how Atlas holds up the heavens.
The last time Kimbrel gave up a run was almost a month ago on April 20, which was a bottom of the ninth inning homerun to the Blue Jays’ Kendrys Morales. This has been his only blown save of the season, yet he didn’t allow for that one pitch to define his whole outing. He struck out two of the next three batters, let his offense score three runs in the tenth, then shut the door by striking out the side in the bottom of the frame to obtain the victory.
That outing has been one of his most resilient and impressive of the season as it paved the way to assertive presence on the hill coming into late May. Since the blown save in seven appearances, Kimbrel has posted five saves, a win and a hold while fanning 16 batters without a single walk.
The tremendous start for the BoSox closer was essential after the rough transitional year into the American League, where Kimbrel posted career lows in several categories. He had a career-low in saves (31), innings pitched (53) and strikeouts (83) while also posting career-highs in losses (six), ERA (3.40) and WHIP (1.09).