Call me biased. Call me a homer. Call me delusional for wanting to give the NL Cy Young award to a closer. It doesn’t matter. Craig Kimbrel, the closer for the Atlanta Braves, should win the Cy Young for the NL in 2013.
He is by far the best pitcher in the NL, and possibly in the entire league. He is tough, efficient and relentless. The guy is simply an animal. We have not seen dominance like this from the closer position since Mariano Rivera in his prime. There is nothing this kid can’t do. He doesn’t give up runs. He strikes hitters out. He gets the job done.
How many teams in MLB don’t have a go-to closer? Seriously, go ahead and count it up. There are far too many teams who lack that guy who goes in the game in the ninth inning and it’s over. When Kimbrel enters the game, the opposing team warms up the bus. He is the clutch guy you want to have on your team, and that’s what the Cy Young award stands for — it’s given to the guy. The guy who has it all and gets it done.
If you have been living under a rock for the past three years, you wouldn’t have heard of him. He came into the majors at the end of the 2010 season and pitched only 20.2 innings, but it didn’t matter. Everyone in Atlanta knew he was something special. He took over the closer position and has dominated baseball ever since.
In his first three seasons as a major league starting closer, he has had seasons of 46, 42 and 49 saves consecutively. Not to mention, the 2013 season isn’t quite over yet and hopefully he gets a chance to get save no. 50.
You might be thinking to yourself “Kimbrel has an impressive saves total, but really he isn’t Cy Young worthy.” Well, you’re wrong. He has been exceptionally efficient this season and by breaking down his stats, you may just change your mind.
Closers aren’t necessarily known for huge strikeout numbers. They simply don’t pitch enough innings to get lots of Ks. Well, Kimbrel does. He has pitched in 64 innings this year, yet recorded 93 strikeouts. That right there is the definition of dominance. His 1.27 ERA and 0.91 WHIP aren’t too bad either. He doesn’t blow many saves, and he is the best pitcher on the mound in every game that he makes an appearance.
It’s rare to have such dominance in baseball, but the Braves aren’t complaining.
Baseball history doesn’t include many closers winning the Cy Young award. That record book is getting a big addition this year. You’ll see Craig Kimbrel’s name on the NL Cy Young Award when the votes are tallied up this season. And if not and they give the award to someone less deserving than Kimbrel, just ask them how life has been living under that rock.
David Galleher is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @theDaveGalleher.