Craig Kimbrel's pitching stance is memorable. His bent-over posture, his crooked arm, and his peering face make hitters a little more nervous as they stand in the box. Kimbrel first came onto the scene in 2010 for the Atlanta Braves. He has spent time in Atlanta, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently in Philadelphia.
Kimbrel was still relatively dominant as a late-inning reliever for the Phillies this past year. He had 23 saves in 28 opportunities, he had a 3.26 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.043 WHIP, and he struck out over 12 batters per nine innings. He also led the Phillies' pitching corps with a 1.81 average leverage index showing Rob Thompson's belief in his closer. Kimbrel is right-handed, so he would have to find some innings around the incumbent right-handed pitchers for the Cardinals.
Where Kimbrel struggled the most would be controlling walks and hard hits. Kimbrel's barrel percentage was in the 13th percentile, his hard-hit percentage was in the 4th percentile, and his walk rate was in the 25th percentile. He is a two-pitch pitcher with a 4-seam fastball and curveball. His fastball has lost some ticks in velocity these past few years, and his curveball is getting hit at a career-high rate. Hitters have been able to catch up to his fastball and have been able to hit it very hard for an average exit velocity of 91.4 MPH.
Kimbrel will turn 36 next May, and he appears to be losing some touch on his pitches. At the right price, Kimbrel would be a fine addition to the bullpen; however, the front office seems intent on signing a left-handed pitcher to fill in the gaps late in games. His underlying metrics are concerning, and hitters seemed to have figured him out this past postseason.