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Kimbrel Makes It Five Braves All-Stars

Newson July 15th, 2011No Comments

The Braves will have five All-Star representatives for the second consecutive year. National League manager Bruce Bochy named relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel to the team to replace San Francisco’s Matt Cain, who started the Giants final game before the break Sunday night against the New York Mets.

Kimbrel, 23, set a Major League rookie record for saves prior to the All-Star Break with 28. He leads all MLB relief pitchers with 70 strikeouts and has not allowed a run in his last 14 appearances. Kimbrel’s 28 saves also lead the Majors.

He joins fellow pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Jonny Venters as first-time All-Stars representing the Braves in Tuesday’s game in Arizona. Third baseman Chipper Jones and catcher Brian McCann are the other Braves named to the National League team.

Craig Kimbrel to replace Matt Cain on National League All-Star roster

Newson July 15th, 2011No Comments

National League All-Star manager Bruce Bochy has named Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel to the roster to replace San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain.

Cain was San Francisco’s starting pitcher in tonight’s game with the New York Mets. In accordance with the rule that makes Sunday’s starting pitchers ineligible to pitch in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, Cain had to be replaced. Because Cain was originally selected to the team by Bochy, his replacement was to be selected by the manager in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Cain will be inactive on Tuesday but will attend the festivities in Phoenix.

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Craig Kimbrel first-half MVP

Newson July 7th, 2011No Comments

The life of a rookie is never easy.

That’s why, when one comes along who’s as special as Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, he deserves our attention and respect. And get it he will in this space; Kimbrel is the “Relief Efforts” first-half MVP.

The 22nd relief pitcher and 176th player picked overall in ESPN live drafts this preseason (average draft position: 174.8), Kimbrel currently finds himself atop the Player Rater at his position, 11 overall spots higher than Drew Storen.

Kimbrel on Tuesday even tied the rookie record for saves before the All-Star break, his 26 matching Jonathan Papelbon’s number from the first half of 2006. With that, Kimbrel is on pace for 48 saves, which would shatter the full-season rookie record set last year by Neftali Feliz (40), not to mention 127 strikeouts, which would be the third most by a rookie reliever, per FanGraphs, trailing only Mark Eichhorn’s 166 in 1986 and Dick Radatz’s 144 in 1962. Only nine different relievers have recorded a season of 40-plus saves and 100-plus K’s.

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Kimbrel earns NL Rookie of Month honors

Newson July 7th, 2011No Comments

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel’s 1-0 record, eight saves and a 1.93 ERA in 14 appearances in June earned the right-hander the Gillette Presents National League Rookie of the Month Award, the league announced on Tuesday.

Kimbrel, who was selected by the Braves in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, received the distinction after allowing just three runs and seven hits with 25 strikeouts over 14 innings. Kimbrel struck out at least one batter in 13 of his 14 outings. He finished the month by converting three consecutive saves from June 27-29 against the Mariners at Safeco Field. He fanned seven and allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings in the series.

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Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves Voted Winner of the Gillette Presents National League Rookie of the Month

Newson July 7th, 2011No Comments

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has been voted the June recipient of the Gillette presents National League Rookie of the Month Award.

Kimbrel went 1-0 with eight saves and a 1.93 ERA in June over 14 apperances. In 14.0 innings pitched, the 23-year-old right-hander permitted three runs on seven hits with five walks and 25 strikeouts. Kimbrel tossed 1.0 inning in each of his games pitched during the month and collected a strikeout in 13 of the 14 outings, including four with two strikeouts and four three-strikeout performances. On June 3rd at Citi Field against the New York Mets, Kimbrel notched his 17th save of the season, setting a National League rookie record for most saves prior to the All-Star break. The Huntsville, Alabama native recorded saves in back-to-back home contests on June 19th against the Texas Rangers and on June 20th vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. Kimbrel, who was selected by the Braves in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, closed out the month with saves in three consecutive contests from June 27th-29th against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. In the 3.0 innings pitched during the series, Craig allowed just one hit with no walks and seven strikeouts. Kimbrel collected his 100th career strikeout on June 27th, becoming the quickest pitcher in Braves franchise history to reach the mark (59.1 innings pitched). Kimbrel is currently tied with All-Stars Joel Hanrahan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres for the National League lead with 25 saves. The 25 saves before the All-Star break sets a new Major League rookie record, surpassing the previous mark of 24 by Kansas City’s Mike MacDougal in 2003. Kimbrel also ranks second in the league with 44 games pitched behind All-Star teammate Jonny Venters (47).

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Kimbrel surpasses Rocker strikeout mark

Newson June 30th, 2011No Comments
When Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth inning for his 21st save on Monday against Seattle, he also reached 100 career strikeouts faster than any Braves pitcher in history.

The rookie closer got his 100th strikeout with 59-1/3 career innings of regular-season work (he finished the night with 101 strikeouts in 59-2/3 innings).

Craig Kimbrel Pitching Crouch Stance Close Up

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Dominant Kimbrel cementing closer status

Newson June 5th, 20111 Comment
It’s safe to say the Braves feel quite comfortable about their choice to allow Craig Kimbrel to serve as their closer.

With a scoreless ninth inning in Friday night’s 6-3 win over the Mets at Citi Field, Kimbrel notched his 17th save — the most in history to be recorded by a National League rookie before the All-Star break. Former Dodgers closer Yhency Brazoban previously set the record with 15 saves before the break in 2005.

“We’re winning a lot,” Kimbrel said. “It’s really nothing I’ve done. It’s what the team is doing.”

With the All-Star break more than a month away, Kimbrel could make a serious run at the Major League rookie mark of 26 that Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon set during the first half of the 2006 season.”It’s still pretty cool to me to even have the chance [to be a closer] this early in my career,” said Kimbrel, who made 29 regular-season appearances and pitched in four postseason games last year.

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