Minors: Craig Kimbrel, future closer? 

April, 15, 2010

Each week, Thursday will be the "minor league day" for this blog, and for my first edition of 2010, I want to address a player who was on my original list of top 100 prospects for this season but was removed in the final draft. In retrospect, his upside probably should have kept him there, but I had some concerns about his 2010 value, which is what that list was all about.

Atlanta Braves reliever Craig Kimbrel was a third-round pick in the 2008 draft out of a small Alabama community college called Wallace State (the same college that produced Derek Holland), and he has put up big strikeout numbers in the minors, fanning 159 batters in 95 1/3 professional innings heading into this season. Last year he struck out more than 15 batters per nine innings across four levels of the minors, finishing with 103 punchouts and just 30 hits allowed in 60 innings, to go along with 18 saves. Those are unbelievable numbers.