Red Sox: Top-10 reasons to get excited about baseball in 2018
After a somewhat disappointing first campaign in Boston, the Red Sox closer bounced back in a big way this past season. Craig Kimbrel was an absolute monster in 2017. With 16.4 strikeouts per nine, nine strikeouts per walk, and an ERA of 1.43, an eighth-inning lead meant game over in Fenway.
Every time he took the mound the question wasn’t if they’d hit him but how bad he’d make them miss. He is one of the most dominant relievers of our generation and has an arsenal that’s almost unfair.
Kimbrel has somehow maintained a career ERA of 1.80 and an ERA+ of 222. For context, that’s 122 percent better than league average. If Kimbrel had enough innings to qualify, that mark would be the greatest career ERA+ of anyone in the history of baseball.
This is Kimbrel’s walk year and likely our last chance to see the fireballer in a Red Sox uniform. He is almost certainly the best reliever we will see in Fenway Park for a long, long time. So buckle up; it’s going to be a wild last ride. The Red Sox look like a team that will have plenty of leads to protect this upcoming season and there’s no one on this planet more qualified to guard them.