Craig Kimbrel: biography
Craig Michael Kimbrel is an American professional Major League Baseball (MLB) player performing for the Chicago Cubs on a pitcher position. His previous teams are Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Boston Red Sox. In terms of career stats, the player resembles Mariano Rivera, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.
It’s high time for us to emerge in Kimbrel’s biography!
Craig Kimbrel was born on May 28, 1988, in Huntsville, Alabama to the family of Mike and Sandy Kimbrel. Besides Craig, there were two more children in the family – his brothers Alan and Matt. The latter played baseball in the Braves minor league system for three seasons before being released.
As a child, Craig studied at Lee High School near his neighborhood. There he joined students' baseball and football teams.
Later future sport star entered Wallace State Community College. In 2007, in his freshman year, Craig showed a perfect result of an 8–0 win-loss record with a 1.99 earned run average (ERA). That time he played on a closer and a spot starter position. The next year, Kimbrel made 9–3 with a 2.88 ERA, striking out 123 hitters in 81 innings pitched, performing as a starter.
In 2007, as a freshman, Kimbrel took part in MLB draft where was selected by Atlanta Braves in the 33rd round.
The 2010 year was one of the most successful in his first playing years. His record was 4–0, with one save and a 0.44 ERA in 20⁄3 innings. Kimbrel also made 40 strikeouts and 16 walks. Having faced San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, the player’s team lost.
At the beginning of 2011, Kimbrel was set as the team's primary closer. He blew his first career save on April 21, 2011. On June 3, 2011, his team fought against the New York Mets – in the match, Craig passed the record for most saves by a National League rookie before the All-Star break. On July 7, in the game against the Colorado Rockies, he made a 27th save which broke Papelbon's record.
In 2011 Kimbrel was lucky to be sent to the All-Star Game. He was used as a replacement for Giants pitcher Matt Cain by San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy.
July 22, 2011, was marked by Kimbrel's breaking the Braves rookie record for saves in a season (31). On August 9, 2011, Kimbrel's franchise fought against the Florida Marlins. The player tied the National League rookie record for saves in a season (36 by Todd Worrell of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986). The record was broken on August 17 – it was the match against the San Francisco Giants.
Several days later the player made his 40th save, on August 31 – his 41st one in the game against the Washington Nationals. He was the best player in terms of quantity of saves. On September 1, 2011, Kimbrel surpassed Cliff Lee's record of thirty-four scoreless innings with 34⁄3 scoreless innings for the longest scoreless streak in the majors in 2011.
Unfortunately, the Braves lost the match against the Philadelphia Phillies and subsequently missed the play-off. Manager Fredi González was accused of overworking Kimbrel during the season.
Craig closed that season with 46 saves and 127 strikeouts.
That year Kimbrel took part in National League Rookie of the Year vote. Kimbrel was firstly unanimously voted since 2001 winner Albert Pujols. Freddie Freeman came after Kimbrel.
In 2012 Craig was sent to the All-Star Game again.
Speaking about the 2012 season, Craig was thoroughly dominant. He was at the top of the National League with 42 saves (in 45 opportunities) and Win Probability Added among pitchers. He struck out 116 batters in 62 2⁄3 innings, producing a K/9 rate of 16.7. In so doing, he also became the first pitcher in history to strike out at least half the batters he faced during a season.
At the beginning of 2013, Kimbrel blew three saves. On May 9, 2013, fighting against the San Francisco Giants, Craig made his 100th save – he was subsequently named the second youngest MLB player who had reached such result. Besides, Kimbrel surpassed John Smoltz's Braves record of 27 consecutive saves on August 17, 2013.
The match against the Philadelphia Phillies held on September 27 brought Craig 50th season save. It made him 11th Major League pitcher with 50 saves in a season.
On February 16, 2014, Craig signed a 4-year $42 million contract extension with the Braves. On April 2, Kimbrel tied Gene Garber's 141 saves with the Braves, good for second in franchise history. Two days later, on April 4, Kimbrel made 142nd career save. On June 6, 2014, Kimbrel showed his 155th save playing against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2015 brought Kimbrel some changes. So, on April 5, 2015, he was traded from the Braves to the San Diego Padres along with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr., in exchange for Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, prospects Matt Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck.
The player performed for that team for only one season and made 61 appearances, finishing 53 games while recording 39 saves; he struck out 87 while walking 22 in 59 1⁄3 innings pitched with a 2.58 ERA.
In November the team traded Craig to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Manuel Margot, Javy Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen. In July 2016, Kimbrel injured his knee while warming up. The doctors stated a tear in the medial meniscus of the left knee. Craig had to undergo surgery and missed some weeks of playing. He got back to games at the beginning of August.
Totally, in 2016 Kimbrel appeared in 57 games, scored 31 save. In 53 innings pitched, he had a 3.40 ERA while striking out 83 and walking 30.
Craig had been performing for the team till 2019. This year he came away to the market and were not signed for some time as well as Dallas Keuchel. The Twins and the Yankees targeted Craig Kimbrel on the closer market. The reports on Kimbrel informed that he wanted a $100 million contract over six years - a significant sum for a closer.
On June 7, 2019, Kimbrel signed a 3-year $43 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Kimbrel’s net worth is evaluated at $28 million. This sum has seen a hike of 46% over the past few years. Craig Kimbrel recently bought a brand new Aston Martin Rapide S luxury car for $210,000 USD. Craig Kimbrel owns few of the best luxury cars in the world. The Car brands include Land Rover Range Rover, Tesla Model X, and Lexus LS.
Kimbrel is known for using a combination of a four-seam fastball and a power curveball to get outs. His fastball averages 97–98 mph and occasionally tops out at 101 mph. His curve, thrown with a "spike" grip, stays in the mid-to-upper 80s. The whiff rate of his four-seamer is 33%, and the curve is 52%. This combination contributes to career strikeouts per nine innings rate of 14.7. (as of 10 October 2018). He is also tied for third among all pitchers from 2002–2012 in the highest percentage of pitches that resulted in swinging strikes.
Kimbrel’s walk out song is Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold".
Craig Kimbrel and his lovely wife Ashley Holt met at Wallace State where Ashley was a cheerleader at. These two dated for several years until he got on one knee and proposed in May 2012. 28-year-old Ashley and Craig Kimbrel tied the knot in December 2012. Their daughter, Lydia Joy, was born on November 3, 2017 and he describes parenting his first child with his wife, Ashley, as, "one of the happiest, joyful times of our life."
She was born with "heart defects." At four days old, Lydia Joy had her first surgery. Due to his daughter's situation, Kimbrel has spent his entire offseason in Boston. He has been working out daily either late at night or early in the morning.
In an emotional news conference, Kimbrel expressed his gratitude to the medical staff at Boston Children's Hospital, in addition to the Red Sox for allowing him to leave camp. Kimbrel, a free agent after that season, also noted that he felt fortunate to have access to the medical care in Boston.
There's no doubt it's been the toughest thing Kimbrel’s family has ever faced. The recovery of their daughter was unbelievable.
At present, Craig's net worth is $28 million dollars.
- All-Star champion (2018);
- NL Rookie of the Year (2011);
- Delivery Man of the Year (2013);
- Reliever of the Year (2014, 2017);
- NL saves leader (2011–2014).