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Meet Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves Closer

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 10:  Pitcher Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Todd FarinoCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2011

By Todd Farino, www.thecloserreport.com

Billy Wagner retired after the 2010 season, and what a shame.  He arguably had one of the finest years of his career and now he wrapped up to spend more time with his family.  God bless you, Billy. 

Now the Atlanta Braves must move on and they have to find a new closer.  While the Braves have a fine bullpen and a few good candidates for the job, Craig Kimbrel seems to be the favorite.  And the young flamethrower should be. 

He throws up to 98 mph and has a nice slider to back it up.  He is a right-handed version of Billy Wagner, only better.  Last season in 20.2 innings of play, Kimbrel struck out 40 batters and had an insane WHIPERA of 1.65. 

When the Braves open camp, it will be Kimbrel's job to lose.  Other pitchers who could take the job if he falters are Jon Venters, Goerge Sherill or Peter Moylan.  None of those are exciting options, but Venters is my favorite.

I like Kimbrel allot and he will be an exciting closer to watch in 2011.  At 22, he will have some ups and downs, but in the end he will put up very good numbers and develop into a dominating closer.  You can likely draft him late, but I wouldn't wait too late to get him.

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