Craig Kimbrel had an appearance on 8/6. It went like this: 19 pitches, 6 batters faced. 2 hits, 1 walk,1 strikeout, and 1 earned run. Not a great outing by just a stat line, but there are signs of progress.
Yes, that might be a low bar for success, but here's how bad it is. After Kimbrel's walk heavy first appearance, control was obviously an issue. Most of the issue stemmed from him throwing curves out of the zone. Since then his overall strike percentage on the curve has grown to 41.18%, which is higher than ball percentage of 38.24% So more often than not, Kimbrel is getting a strike on the curve. That's something.
Kimbrel's fly ball percentage has dropped by 8% from 2019 to now. 50% last year, presently at 41.7%. Progress.
Kimbrel's soft hit % has doubled from last year, going from 7.7% to 16.7%. We have some signs of life.
Those are the pros. There are still a few cons.
In terms of velocity, he's still struggling. After his second appearance a week ago, his velocities from statcast read like this:
After 2 more appearances, they now read like this:
Not that I was expecting a huge increase in velocity, but I was hoping to see those numbers improve.
Kimbrel's walk rate has essentially tripled, going from 5.23 to 16.88. Hopefully that's just a function of his terrible first outing, where he walked 4. Just one walk since.
Kimbrel's strikeout rate has plunged. He went from 40.8% for career, to 31.3% last year and just 10% at the moment. I'm hoping that with a larger sample size that regulates.
I'm beginning to learn that Kimbrel might just need to make several small tweaks to get the train back on the tracks. Even though I predicted a rough 2020 for him, there might be some light at the end of a tunnel this year.