Red Sox Round Table: Over/Under predictions for 2017
By Sean Penney
Craig Kimbrel over/under 3.00 ERA
Sean: Over, although I expect it to be a bit lower than last year. Only five AL relievers racked up at least 30 saves while producing an ERA under 3.00 last year. Kimbrel has the talent to do it, but I worry about the number of walks he issues. Farrell will also end up using him at times in non-save situations, just to get him some work, which is a scenario Kimbrel has struggled in. He’ll be lights out in save situations, but a few meltdowns in meaningless outings could inflate his ERA.
Rick: Under for his ERA, xFIP, FIP and any other exotic metric. Now if you said over/under on a 4.5 BB/9 I might be tempted to go over.
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Jake: Under. Despite Kimbrel’s 3.40 ERA in his first season with the team, he was as unhittable as ever, holding opponents to a .152/.283/.255 slash line. What that says is that hitters can’t make contact with the ball; the only way they get on base is via the walk. Kimbrel’s 5.1 BB/9 was uncharacteristically high, and I believe he will put a greater emphasis on throwing strikes in 2017, given that hitters can’t touch him anyway.
Jon: Under a 3.00 ERA – maybe a low 2 ERA. I think he’s going to have a huge bounce back year. He’s used to the pressure of Boston and is relatively healthy. He’s still the best young closer statistically and in his prime. I expect an All-Star year from him.
David: Under. Kimbrel pitched hurt for a decent portion of the year. His bad outings were REALLY bad, but other than that he was lights out.
Chris: Under – Let’s not forget, last season Kimbrel was on his third team in as many seasons, and he had to change leagues. That’s tough for a player to do nowadays. Even after last season, his career ERA is 1.86. I think he’ll be more settled in this year, and if he is able to control his walks, I think he’ll be able to have another sub-2.00 ERA season.
Drew: Kimbrel was still adjusting to his third team in three years in 2016, leading to his career-high in ERA. I think he puts things back together and has a sub 3 ERA this season.