The Transforming Power of Craig Kimbrel

Fantasy owners often question the relevance of the relief pitcher. If you are reading this, you have heard the following expression: ‘Never pay for saves.’ I want to test the validity of that claim.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that Clayton Kershaw is the best SP in baseball. His Outliar line suggests that is true.

There should be no argument that Crag Kimbrel is the best RP in baseball, not even from Reds fans.

Kershaw has averaged the following weekly production. This is season-to-date, with no adjustments made.

  • 9.4 IP, 9.4 K, 2.8 ER, 9.5 W+H

Kimbrel has averaged this line:

  • 2.6 IP, 4.8 K, 0.3 ER, 1.7 W+H

The problem with even the best relief pitchers is that they are unable to turn in many IP each week. The problems that follow from that are low K totals, and a risk to ERA and WHIP from just one poor appearance.

Kimbrel is a different beast though. He is doing things that no pitcher has ever done. Not Mariano Rivera, not nobody. Kimbrel’s career ERA is 1.52 across what I will call two full seasons. His career K/9 is 15.9. According to B-R’s career ERA leaderboard, the best ever is Ed Walsh at 1.81. The career K/9 leader is Randy Johnson at 10.6. There are RPs on these lists. Rivera and Hoffman check in on both.

My point is this: Craig Kimbrel may be worth paying for, even when ‘Never Pay for Saves’ is a truism. If we average the weekly performances of Yu Darvish (ADP: 119) and Craig Kimbrel (ADP: 58) we get this:

  • 11.9 IP, 7.8 K, 2.2 ER, 6.9 W+H

Here again is Kershaw’s (ADP: 17)

  • 9.4 IP, 9.4 K, 2.8 ER, 9.5 W+H

Craig Kimbrel is so good, that he can transform a mid-round SP into a Second Round SP. He has such a potent presence, that he can be viewed as an anchor for your rotation.

If you ‘Pay for Saves’ by paying Kimbrel’s early-round price tag, you may be getting more than just saves. You will also be buying a rotation anchor.

2 thoughts on “The Transforming Power of Craig Kimbrel

  1. Pingback: ADP Value: Relief Pitchers | Outliar Baseball

  2. Pingback: How I Built an Ace | Outliar Baseball

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