- Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves)
Here we go, down to the final two! And if you know who number two is, you must know who number one is. Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman are so close that it is crazy. They implore slightly different techniques in their games, but the outcome is always the same: success.
In every year of Craig Kimbrel’s career, he has either led the National League in saves or tied for the lead. He has won the MLB’s best relief pitcher award twice. In 2013 when it was among players in both leages: “The Delivery Man Award”; and in 2014 when he the award was changed to have an AL and NL winner: “Mariano Rivera Award.” Kimbrel started out his career hot, an All-Star in his rookie year. Later that year he won the Rookie of the Year award for the National League. He has been voted into the top-10 in Cy Young voting each of his four years, and has received MVP votes three of the four years.
Kimbrel will stare you down while at the mound and proceed to throw a 97-mph fastball right by you. His average fastball velocity in 2014, 97 mph, was the second-highest in the league. The 26-year-old Kimbrel is second all-time in strikeouts per nine innings.
He has all the stats and accolades to show you that he can be a Hall of Famer. Whether he will do that will be up to him over the next ten years.