Kimbrel adds another honor through GIBBYs
Braves closer voted top rookie after record-breaking year
ATLANTA -- Craig Kimbrel has added another Rookie of the Year honor to his impressive collection.
Kimbrel has been voted Rookie of the Year via balloting for this year's Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards. The Braves closer recorded a Major League rookie-record 46 saves and produced some eye-opening statistics during his first full season in the big leagues.
The GIBBY Award winners are calculated based on four segments of voters that each account for 25 percent of the total vote: millions of fans at MLB.com; media; front-office personnel; and MLB alumni.
The ultimate honors of baseball's awards season, 2011 GIBBY trophies were awarded to Major League Baseball's top player, starting pitcher, rookie, breakout player, comeback player, wow factor, closer, setup man, defensive player, manager and executive, as well as the 2011 Postseason MVP, with no restriction to league affiliation.
GIBBY trophies also honored the year's top play, moment, walk-off, performance, oddity, fan moment and postseason moment from MLB.com's Must C highlight vault.
Kimbrel's memorable first year in the Majors was tarnished by late-season struggles that culminated with him blowing a ninth-inning lead in a must-win situation during the regular season's final game. But the ugly conclusion of a record-setting season did not lead the masses to believe there was a more impressive NL rookie this year.
Kimbrel won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in unanimous voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and his peers bestowed him with this same honor during the Players Choice Awards. He was recognized by MLB.com as the Braves' Breakout Player of the Year and was included on the Sporting News' NL All-Star team.
On his way to converting 46 of 54 save opportunities and totaling 79 appearances, Kimbrel limited opponents to a .178 batting average and recorded 127 strikeouts in just 77 innings, an average of 14.84 strikeouts per nine innings.
Kimbrel joined Carlos Marmol (2010), Eric Gagne ('03) and Billy Wagner (1998 and '99) as the only pitchers to record at least 14 strikeouts per nine innings and notch at least 30 saves in the same season.
"I understand that I did have, numbers-wise, a good year, but there's a lot of room for improvement, as well," Kimbrel said in November. "I'm always looking for a way to get better and to help my team more. That's one thing I'll do this offseason. I always expect to do better the next year and the next year."
Kimbrel experienced a few hiccups during the season's first two months and then proved to be simply dominant through the middle portion of the season. In the 38 appearances made from June 12-Sept. 8, he worked 37 2/3 scoreless innings, limited opponents to a .112 batting average and recorded 67 strikeouts.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.