Craig Kimbrel, Relief Pitcher/Closer, Boston Red Sox
Date of Birth: 5/28/1988
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama
College: Wallace State Community College
Current Salary: $13,000,000
Craig Kimbrel, relief pitcher/closer for the Boston Red Sox, was drafted twice by the Atlanta Braves before signing with them in 2008. He pitched in their minor league system from 2008 through 2010. He first joined the Braves' bullpen for 21 games in 2010.
In 2011, his first full season in the major leagues, Kimbrel had an outstanding year as the Braves' closer. He had 46 saves, which set a major league record for the most saves in a season by a rookie. That feat, along with a 2.10 ERA, helped earn him the unanimous choice as National League Rookie of the Year. He finished the season with career highs in games played (79), innings pitched (77.0), and strikeouts (127 to 32 walks).
Kimbrel followed his stellar first season with similar seasons in 2012, 2013, and 2014. From 2011 through 2014, he led the National League in saves each year. In 2012, he had an impressive ERA of 1.01 with 42 saves. The following season, he had a 1.21 ERA and a career high 50 saves. He was awarded the MLB Delivery Man of the Year award in 2013.
Kimbrel signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension with the Braves on February 16, 2014.
On June 6, 2014, Kimbrel became the Braves' all-time saves leader, passing Hall of Famer John Smoltz. He finished the 2014 season with a 1.61 ERA and 47 saves. He added to his previous awards when he was again named MLB Delivery Man of the Year and he received the Trevor Hoffman award.
Kimbrel was traded to the San Diego Padres on April 5, 2015. He finished the 2015 season with 39 saves, 87 strikeouts to 22 walks, and a 2.58 ERA in 59.1 innings in 61 games.
Kimbrel was traded to the Red Sox on November 13, 2015. He finished the 2016 season with a 3.40 ERA, 2 wins to 6 losses, 31 saves, and 83 strikeouts to 30 walks in 53.0 innings in 57 games. In the postseason, he pitched 1.1 innings in 2 games and he gave up no hits.
Career pitching statistics for Kimbrel through 2016 include:
- 412 games played
- 401.1 innings pitched
- 21-18 win-loss record
- 256 saves
- 646 strikeouts to 160 walks
- 1.86 ERA
Kimbrel and his wife Ashley were married in December, 2012.