Braves’ Craig Kimbrel holds one camp, headed to another

Newson January 31st, 2011No Comments

Craig Kimbrel didn’t have baseball camps to attend. Just a baseball field nearby where he could all but camp out. From where he grew up, you could see the lights of Optimist Park. Just the other day, Craig and his father Mike were reminiscing about it. “He’d give us chores when we were little. But if we went to the ballpark, we didn’t have chores,” Kimbrel said. “So we went to the ballpark every day. We lived at the park.”

On Saturday, dozens of young players got to avoid their chores. They got to meet Kimbrel, 22, a former Lee High player now a burgeoning ace in the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen, and receive instruction from him at a clinic at D1 Sports. To the campers, his message was to “let them know it’s possible you can make it where I am now,” he said. “I’ve had fun,” said Kimbrel, taking a break to autograph a stack of souvenir photos for the campers as they scarfed down pizza. “I love to teach kids. They all have questions. read more

Leaders of the youth movement

Newson January 12th, 2011No Comments

Craig Kimbrel participated in the union’s seminars over the past week, a means for educating young players like the Braves’ reliever. They talked about dealing with the media, the good and bad of social media, investing money, that sort of thing. And along the way, Kimbrel shared in a conversation about all the scions of the National League East: Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison of the Marlins, the Braves’ Jason Heyward and Kimbrel and Jonny Venters, the Nationals’ Drew Storen, the Mets’ Ike Davis.

As baseball has gotten younger, more and more often contending teams are relying on burgeoning players in important roles — like Neftali Feliz, the closer for the Texas Rangers.

This again will be the case in 2011. Ten young players who will need to produce for their respective teams this year:

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
The Phillies have the best on-paper rotation in the majors, while Atlanta’s advantage might be in its late-inning relief. read more

Wagner says Kimbrel looks ready for closer role

Newson November 19th, 2010No Comments

With Billy Wagner injured, the Braves could turn to rookie fireballer Craig Kimbrel as their primary closer. Wagner, for one, believes the 22-year-old Alabaman is ready to handle the role, even in postseason pressure.

“The hardest person to hit is somebody who gets a lot of swings and misses,” Wagner said, and that description certainly fit Kimbrel.

A baby-faced strikeout machine with a 96-97 mph fastball, Kimbrel had five strikeouts in 2-2/3 perfect innings during the first two games of the National League Division Series against San Francisco. read more

Kimbrel relishes first big league save

Newson November 19th, 2010No Comments

PHILADELPHIA — Braves manager Bobby Cox provided a glimpse toward the future Sunday, when he rested Billy Wagner and gave Craig Kimbrel a chance to notch the first save of his young career. Extending his recent dominant run and further proving why he may serve as Atlanta’s closer next year, Kimbrel notched three strikeouts in a scoreless ninth inning that capped a 6-3 win over the Mets. The inning might have been perfect had Ike Davis’ infield single not struck Kimbrel’s right foot. read more

Kimbrel scrambles to make way to Majors

Newson November 19th, 2010No Comments

WASHINGTON — Craig Kimbrel learned that it would be beneficial for any of Triple-A Gwinnett’s Major League prospects to have manager Dave Brundage’s phone number stored in their cell phones. As Kimbrel was eating in Buckhead around 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, he received a call from a number that he didn’t recognize. Fortunately, he opted to listen to the message provided by Brundage, who was calling the young reliever to inform him he had received his first call to the Majors. read more

Craig Kimbrel’s First Major League Save!

Newson November 19th, 2010No Comments

From – Kimbrel is interviewed on getting his first save:

“That was exciting. My heart was racing. Pretty cool.”

You didn’t look nervous

“Well, I was on the inside. At least I didn’t show it on the outside.”

Surprised you were called on, or did you know Wagner was getting a day off?

read more

Kimbrel (3 Ks) impressive in first save opportunity

Newson November 19th, 2010No Comments

NEW YORK – After deciding to rest closer Billy Wagner for one day before the Phillies series, Braves manager Bobby Cox turned to Craig Kimbrel to pitch the ninth inning Sunday with a 6-3 lead. It was the first save situation for the hard-throwing rookie, and he responded splendidly, striking out three of four batters faced. read more