Craig Kimbrel is up to 39 saves, the highest total in baseball. Kimbrel is also sporting a 14.51 K/9 mark and that mark would be the 7th best mark in the history of baseball for any pitcher who has tossed 60 innings in a season. Kimbrel has allowed eight hits in his last 16.2 innings and on the year he is holding batters to a .174 BAA. Oh yeah, his last blown save was on June 8th (he’s converted 21-straight chances).
Jonny Venters has even better ratios with a 1.11 ERA an a 0.94 WHIP. He’s also struck out more than a batter per inning 0 79 in 72.2 innings – and he’s given up only one long ball on the year (he’s given up only two in his career of 155.2 innings). Why only one homer allowed? Look at that INSANE ground ball rate of 74.8 percent. That’s nearly impossible to sustain, though after last years 68.4 percent mark Venters is starting to look like a guy who might be able to maintain that phenomenal rate. Oh, and good luck getting a hit off him as he’s even better in terms of batting average against with a .156 mark.
Just how good is the duo this season? I’m going to add their numbers together and then compare it to some of the ace starting pitchers in the league. Prepare to be shocked. Kimbrel/Venters would be in the NL Cy Young award talk if they posted these numbers as a starting pitcher.
Braves duo: 13-3, 1.40 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 11.97 K/9, 3.27 K/BB in 135.1 IP
Josh Beckett: 10-5, 2.46 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.85 K/9, 3.43 K/BB in 157 IP
Roy Halladay: 15-5, 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 8.64 K/9, 7.91 K/BB in 189.2 IP
Cole Hamels: 13-7, 2.62 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.11 K/9, 4.43 K/BB in 172 IP
Clayton Kershaw: 15-5, 2.60 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.75 K/9, 4.33 K/BB in 183.2 IP
Justin Verlander: 18-5, 2.31 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 9.06 K/9, 4.86 K/BB in 202.2 IP
Jered Weaver: 14-6, 2.10 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.55 K/9, 3.76 K/BB in 188.1 IP
See what I’m saying about Kimbrel/Venters being elite? If you get a chance to watch the duo work the 8th and 9th innings do yourself a favor and do it. Pull up a chair, crack open a beer, and watch why Braves’ game are done after seven innings – you simply aren’t going to score against this duo.
RANDOM MUSINGS – Stephen Strasburg
Don’t get too excited about Stephen Strasburg. If he has any kind of physical hiccup the Nationals will shut him down, an in his next minor league outing he’ll be limited to 65 pitches. Strasburg will likely be really good when he’s on the hill, but I’m thinking he’s a five inning type the ROTW, so don’t go overboard with your expectations for 2011. Also, for those of you in keeper leagues, look at how the Nationals handled Jordan Zimmerman this season if you want to know what to expect from Strasburg next year. That’s right, I’m thinking 160 innings for SS next year, so factor that in to your 2012 rankings.
By Ray Flowers