News: 5 days agoKimbrel struck out two batters but also allowed a home run in an intrasquad game Tuesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
Spin: While this is just one outing in a scrimmage, Kimbrel is a player worth watching closely in the early going considering his struggles a year ago. The Cubs and fantasy owners will surely want to see the veteran reliever get off to a fast start. If he looks like he did in 2019 (6.53 ERA and 1.60 WHIP across 20.2 innings) for an extended period of time, Chicago could turn to someone like Jeremy Jeffress or Rowan Wick to close out games.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: Kimbrel and his agent played the waiting game, and it ended up impacting Kimbrel's effectiveness in 2019. He did not pitch in his first major league game until June 27 and closed the season with 13 saves in 16 chances along with a career-worst ERA and WHIP. His final average fastball velocity finished the season 2 mph below where it was two seasons ago, and the declining velocity has led to his strikeout rate falling from amazing levels to just-better-than-average levels. His expected stats say his performance was earned rather than unlucky. Simply put, Kimbrel is entering a different phase of his career. Indicators are trending in the wrong direction, and while all growth and failure is not linear, the past two seasons are concerning. Quite honestly, the strikeouts are the only safe thing in his skill set for 2020.