Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:38 pm
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By C. Trent Rosecrans


One of the most volatile positions on the field is closer -- one minute a guy is lights-out, the next he's teaching High School phys ed, like Kenny Powers. The few guys you can count on can count on big bucks, and even some with questions can still get big money.

Don't want to shell out big money on a big-name closer? Sometimes young guys can get the job done at a fraction of the cost with a young pitcher with a live arm. While the Phillies and Marlins have dolled out a combined $77 million this offseason, two other teams in the National League East will pay less than $1 million combined for two guys who saved 15 more games than the Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell combined in 2011 -- Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and Washington's Drew Storen. So, for today's penultimate matchup in the Would You Rather Have? series, it's two young, NL East closers.

Would You Rather Have
The case for Storen

Storen was the Nationals' second pick in the 2009 draft, but first to make the majors, beating Stephen Strasburg to D.C. He picked up five saves in 2010, before starting out 2011 as the team's full-time closer. He finished 2011 with 43 saves and nearly a strikeout an inning. He has a fastball that averages 95 mph and a very good slider, to boot. His changeup isn't great, but as a one-inning guy, two pitches are plenty.

In addition to his strikeout rate, he allowed just 2.39 walks per nine innings, a number that was better than his first year. He also bettered his strikeout rate (8.84 strikeouts per nine innings), ground ball rate (47.3 percent), left-on-base percentage (81.1 percent), ERA (2.75) and xFIP (3.14). Storen -- despite some questionable coaching from CBSSports.com blogger Matt Snyder earlier in life (true story) -- appears to be improving and could get even better than he was in 2011. Although it should be noted his batting average on balls in play dropped by .050 last season, from .296 in 2010 to .246 in 2011.

The case for Kimbrel

Kimbrel was a unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year -- and for good reason. He was nearly unhittable. The right-hander had a 1.039 WHIP while leading the National League with 46 saves and putting up just a 2.10 ERA. In 77 innings -- and 79 games -- Kimbrel struck out 127 batters, walking 32. He did that all while allowing a .314 batting average on balls in play.

Like Storen, Kimbrel gets by on his mid-90s fastball and a slider, both above-average pitches.

Another thing to love about the two pitchers is that they're both under team control through the 2016 season, although Storen is likely to be a Super Two, giving him an extra year of arbitration starting next season.

Our call

With apologies to Storen, this one isn't that close. Kimbrel's a little younger, will have one less arbitration year and is probably just flat better. The only question is how Kimbrel handles the workload he was handed by manager Fredi Gonzalez last season, when he put up a 4.76 ERA in the last month of the season. While he faced just three more batters and pitched only 1 2/3 innings more than Storen, his higher walk rate and strikeout rate means he threw 1,314 pitches in 2011 to 1,100 by Storen. Still, neither has been injured at the big-league level and expect Gonzalez to learn from his mistakes. Storen's a good pitcher, but Kimbrel's an easy pick here.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Storen or Kimbrel on your favorite team?



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Comments

Since: Mar 10, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

no its not ! Kimbrel case cosed Storen gets hit hard . Kimbrel was incredible and wore down late due to his over usage : 



Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

you can get great closers late in fantasy drafts. or just use sp/rp eligible guys. luebke and feliz are such.



Since: Jul 6, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:21 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

Storen is older and vastly inferior, so obviously Storen. 



Since: Apr 11, 2010
Posted on: January 29, 2012 11:41 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

"The only question is how Kimbrel handles the workload he was handed" Um, pretty big question.  I roll with Storen on this, my guess is Kimbrel's numbers way down this year.




Since: Jul 30, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2012 10:45 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

The Braves pitching is not far better then the Nationals.  It's a lot closer then you might think.



Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:23 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

This was a bad choice of comparison. All the other ones involved some thought and I kind of loved these columns but this one is just bad. All that needs to be said is Kimbrel done and ummm... done!



Since: Nov 26, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2012 11:05 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

Actually Atlanta's pitching as a whole wasn't that much better then the Nats, look it up. And this was without Strasburg and Gio. 



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 8:13 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

Nolasco was a ground ball pitcher and he continues to be batting practice even with the defensive improvements over the past few seasons.
What defensive improvements?  Bonifacio and HanRam combined for a whopping 25 errors at short last year.  Dobbs had 11 errors at third and only started 84 games there.  Infante had 8 errors at 2nd.  The Marlins infield defense is atrocious.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2012 8:01 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

ERA seems to be the best stat for a pitcher, at least for starters.  Relievers can have their ERA raise an entire point for a season with 1-3 bad outings (Rivera gave up four runs in three outings in early August and saw his ERA rise from 1.70 to 2.40). 
ERA isn't any more reliable than any other stat.  You can have an inflated ERA because your defense isn't very good.  I'm not talking about errors, I'm talking about inability to get to balls because of speed and awareness.  Misjudging balls off the bat.  ERA is as dependent on the rest of your team as many other stats are.

I stopped paying any attention to wins after the 1990 season when Bob Welch won the Cy because of his 27 wins.  He wasn't even the best pitcher on his own staff for that season.  Also, see Nolan Ryan, 1987, led the league in ERA, yet his record was 8-16. 
Agreed.  Finally the baseball writers are beginning to see just how overrated wins are in determining a pitcher's overall performance.  When King Felix won the Cy Young two years ago, any game that he gave up more than 2 runs, earned or unearned, he either lost or got a no decision.  Wins are so completely dependent on the team around you.  You could start 35 games, pitch a full 9 innings each time and give up 1 run, but if your team fails to score any runs for you, you're still not going to win.





Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:56 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Storen or Kimbrel?

BABIP seems to only be a possible indicator of other things; not a great stat.  Wins is not the greatest stat and is again, only an indicator at best.  WHIP will give you some insights into a pitcher's effectiveness.  

 ERA seems to be the best stat for a pitcher, at least for starters.  Relievers can have their ERA raise an entire point for a season with 1-3 bad outings (Rivera gave up four runs in three outings in early August and saw his ERA rise from 1.70 to 2.40).  

I stopped paying any attention to wins after the 1990 season when Bob Welch won the Cy because of his 27 wins.  He wasn't even the best pitcher on his own staff for that season.  Also, see Nolan Ryan, 1987, led the league in ERA, yet his record was 8-16.  

 


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