Craig Kimbrel is an American-born professional baseball player. In November 2015, Kimbrel joined MLB side Boston Red Sox where he plays as a pitcher. Back in 2011, he made his MLB debut with the Atlanta Braves, achieving an unprecedented 46 saves, the best ever recorded by a rookie. Kimbrel was named as the Braves’ closer pitcher and also received the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year Award.
From 2011 through 2014, he maintained the record for the highest number of saves in the National League. Kimbrel achieved his 200th save in June 2015 and in May 2018, he reached the 300 saves milestone, becoming the youngest player to achieve the feat.
Craig Kimbrel’s Biography
Craig Michael Kimbrel was born on May 28, 1988, in Huntsville, Alabama to Mike and Sandy Kimbrel. He was raised alongside 2 younger siblings, brothers Alan and Matt. He had his high school education at Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama. He can be considered a late bloomer, as he didn’t make his school’s Elite Baseball Team. For his college education, he received a scholarship to Wallace State Community College.
Craig Kimbrel first entered for the MLB Amateur draft in 2007 where he was chosen by the Atlanta Braves in round 33. Kimbrel, however, decided to stay back at Wallace State College for his sophomore year and also to boost his draft position. His decision eventually paid off as he was picked again by the Braves in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft.
In less than 2 years, Krimbel swiftly advanced through the Braves’ farm system before eventually earning his first call-up to the Atlanta Braves on May 15, 2010.
Craig Krimbel recorded his first major league save against the New York Mets on September 19, 2010. He was named as the team’s primary closer pitcher at the beginning of the 2011 season which would become his first full season. On July 7, Kimbrel recorded his 27th save breaking the previous record of most saves by a rookie before the All-Star break. Craig Kimbrel was eventually named to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game rosters.
On August 17, 2011, Kimbrel recorded his 37th career save, breaking the previous rookie record (Todd Worrell-36) for most saves in a season. He finished the month of August as the National League Rookie of the Month as well as the MLB Delivery Man of the Month. The following months were not as impressive for Craig Kimbrel and the Braves failed to make it to the playoffs. However, he finished the season with 46 saves setting a new record for the most saves in a season by a rookie. He was also unanimously voted as the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Craig Kimbrel was equally selected to the 2012 All-Star Game and was in top form throughout the season. He was the National League’s leading pitcher with 42 saves and also in terms of Win Probability Added. Also in the 2012 season, he became the first pitcher to strike out at least half the batters he faced during a season. He equally received the 2012 National League Rolaids Relief Man Award. Krimbel spent 2 more successful seasons with the Braves before joining the San Diego Padres in April 2015. He achieved his 200th save on June 8 against his former team, the Braves.
After just one season with the Padres, the talented player joined the Boston Red Sox. With the Red Sox, Kimbrel had a rough 2016 season, however, he made a major comeback during the 2017 campaign which has been adjudged as one of his most impressive. Craig Kimbrel achieved his 300th career save on May 5, 2018, against the Texas Rangers, becoming the youngest player to achieve this feat in the least number of appearances (494).
Trade And Salary
Craig Krimbel joined the Atlanta Braves in the 2008 MLB draft. In February 2014, he signed an additional 4-year deal worth $42 million. This deal would have seen the pitcher stay with the Braves till 2018, however, just one year later, Krimbel was traded alongside Melvin Upton Jr. by the Braves in an exchange deal with the San Diego Padres. Being an elite closer, Krimbel did not come cheap as the Padres had to part with outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, top prospects Matt Wisler and Jordan Paroubeck, as well as the 41st overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft.
After just one season with the Padres, Craig Kimbrel moved to Boston Red Sox in November 2015. The trade was an exchange deal in which the Sox parted with Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, Javy Guerra as well as Manuel Margot. His 3-year contract with the Sox had him earn annual salaries of $11 million in 2016, $13 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2018 campaign.
Wife & Daughter
Craig Kimbrel is married to Ashley Holt. The duo met during their college years at Wallace State, where Ashley Holt was a member of the cheerleading team. It is unclear when they officially started dating, however, the couple got engaged in May 2012. A few months after their engagement, the couple tied the knot on December 1, 2012. On November 3, 2017, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Lydia Joy. Little Lydia, however, was diagnosed with congenital heart defects. The family relocated to Boston during the 2017 offseason where their daughter Lydia underwent 2 surgical procedures at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, to correct the defects.