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Atlanta Braves Opening Day countdown: 46, closers

The Atlanta Braves have had remarkable young pitchers stage appropriate into major obligation. We glimpse at two with #46.

With all the accomplishment the Atlanta Braves have experienced in beginning pitching, closers have been often brief-lived in the franchise history. Even so, the team has presented a possibility to young arms in the earlier with the obligation of closing out games. We glimpse at two with #46, Kerry Ligtenberg and Craig Kimbrel.


A high school pitcher from Minnesota that went on to pitch for the College of Minnesota, Kerry Ligtenberg done college with no fascination from major league golf equipment, so he stayed near to home and pitched with a nearby Indy Ball club in Minneapolis, where he was less than the management of former Braves catcher Greg Olson. Olson tipped his former club to his pitcher, and in 1996, the Braves signed the 25-year-previous and reportedly provided some baseballs and bats for Olson’s club as component of the transaction, which grew to become fairly a meme about the league for a number of yrs.

Ligtenberg straight away transitioned to the bullpen in high-A in his initial time. He worked all the way to the major leagues in his second pro time in 1997, creating 15 appearances with the Braves. Then 1998 transpired.

Mark Wohlers, who had served as the team’s closer for many seasons, all of a sudden could not discover the plate, and though he was not enabling in runs, Wohlers had walked 7 in 6 innings by April 20th. That was the working day that Ligtenberg picked up his initial save.

Commencing in early-May, Ligtenberg picked up a save in four straight games. By the conclude of the time, Ligtenberg had picked up 30 saves with a 2.71 Era over 73 innings, with a 24/79 BB/K. He finished in the best-5 of Rookie of the Yr voting.

Ligtenberg was injured the pursuing time with Tommy John and noticed yet another rookie consider over the closer work. He would pitch three much more seasons with the Braves at the time he returned, then pitched in three much more seasons just before he finished his major league profession.

About 5 seasons for the Atlanta Braves, Ligtenberg pitched 266 2/3 innings, conserving 44 games, with a 3.04 Era, 1.21 WHIP, and a 115/256 BB/K ratio.


Most know Craig Kimbrel’s remarkable route. He was a scarce reliever who truly was a best-100 prospect just before 2011. In his rookie time in 2011, Kimbrel created the All-Star sport, won the Rookie of the Yr Award, and he even finished in the best-10 of Cy Younger voting that time as he saved 46 games, with a 2.10 Era, 1.04 WHIP, and a 32/127 BB/K ratio over 77 innings.

Extremely, that would be Kimbrel’s worst statistical time of his Atlanta Braves profession. He led the Nationwide League in saves four straight seasons. He posted three seasons with an Era less than 1.65 just after his rookie year and hardly ever yet again had a WHIP higher than 1.00 with the Braves.

The Braves traded Kimbrel just forward of the 2015 time in get to go BJ Upton’s inflated agreement. Although none of the gamers initially obtained in the trade are even now with the Atlanta Braves, the aggressive balance select that the Braves obtained in that offer grew to become Austin Riley.

About 4+ seasons for the Atlanta Braves, Kimbrel pitched in 289 innings, with a 1.43 Era, .90 WHIP, 186 saves, and a 108/476 BB/K ratio.

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Although some Atlanta Braves might be apprehensive about obtaining a pitcher with as little expertise as A.J. Minter top the bullpen in 2019, Braves history and the #46 reveals that this is a rather frequent incidence in team history!

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