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Who Should I Draft?

James Karinchak or Craig Kimbrel (2021)


Who Should I Draft? Player Summaries
 
Experts' Pick
 
  James Karinchak
RP - CLE
James Karinchak
Craig Kimbrel
RP - CWS
Craig Kimbrel
Expert
Recommendation
84%
Recommended by
43 of 51 experts
16%
Recommended by
8 of 51 experts
Rankings 
   
ECR# 49# 61
Best Rank# 28# 35
Worst Rank# 117# 108
   
ADP 
   
Composite# 102# 164
Best Rank# 94# 153
Worst Rank# 129# 233
   
Projections 
   
Strikeouts9979
Wins33
Saves2224
ERA3.233.65
WHIP1.191.21
   
Misc 
   
Injury AlertMiLB-
   
Expert Ranks 
   
Andy Behrens
Yahoo! Sports
# 58# 108
   
Steve Gardner
USA Today
# 55# 61
   
Site Projections
RotoChamp
# 51# 52
   
Grey Albright
Razzball
# 40# 72
   
Jeff Boggis
Fantasy Football Empire
# 44# 55
   
Muntradamus
Beast Dome
# 47# 76
   
KJ
Fantasy Team Advice
# 43# 83
   
Luke Gloeckner
Mr. Cheatsheet
# 45# 69
   
Dave McKay
The Fantasy Sports Brain
# 49# 58
   
Tim McCullough
Baseball Prospectus
# 37# 74
   
Rudy Gamble
Razzball
# 49# 54
   
Wayne Bretsky
BretskyBall
# 61# 63
   
Jake Ciely
The Athletic
# 32# 35
   
Joe Bond
Fantasy Six Pack
# 40# 63
   
Chris Meaney
FTN
# 58# 71
   
Andy Singleton
Expand The Boxscore
# 40# 48
   
Heath Capps
Fake Teams
# 36# 65
   
Mario Mergola
Sporfolio
# 40# 73
   
Nick Pollack
Pitcher List
# 82# 89
   
Nick Mariano
RotoBaller
# 43# 59
   
Mike Maher
FantasyPros
# 43# 64
   
Donkey Teeth
Razzball
# 38# 68
   
Dan Harris
FantasyPros
# 53# 68
   
Pierre Camus
RotoBaller
# 47# 98
   
Jorge B. Edwards
Fantasy In Frames
# 37# 63
   
Dennis Sosic
Fantasy Six Pack
# 56
   
Mick Ciallela
Fantrax
# 43# 62
   
Michael Petropoulos
BRoto Fantasy
# 54# 58
   
Ariel Cohen
FanGraphs
# 45# 70
   
Ryan Amore
Pitcher List
# 33# 47
   
Todd D Clark
The Fantasy Fix
# 35# 58
   
Brendan Tuma
FantasyPros
# 28# 61
   
Jacob W. Dunne
New Life Fantasy
# 43# 64
   
Carmen Maiorano
FantasyPros
# 40# 42
   
Lucas Spence
Pitcher List
# 31# 75
   
Jordan Eisen
Field of Vision Sports
# 61# 80
   
Nate Miller
FantasyPros
# 48# 67
   
Brad Camara
FantasyPros
# 34# 58
   
Staff Rankings
Roto Ranks
# 47# 58
   
Corbin Young
FantasyData
# 37# 39
   
Chris Clegg
Fantrax
# 60# 87
   
Joe Pisapia
FantasyPros
# 98# 103
   
Nicklaus Gaut
RotoBaller
# 65# 98
   
Andrew Gould
FantasyPros
# 55# 54
   
Dalton Del Don
Yahoo! Sports
# 56# 54
   
Greg Smith
The Fake Baseball
# 60# 58
   
Max Freeze
Freeze Stats
# 62# 50
   
Scott Pianowski
Yahoo! Sports
# 68# 55
   
Andrew Seifter
FantasyPros
# 92# 51
   
Adam Ronis
Fantasy Alarm
# 100# 86
   
Michael Waterloo
FantasyPros
# 117# 63
   
Who Should I Draft? Player Statistics
  James Karinchak
RP - CLE
James Karinchak
Craig Kimbrel
RP - CWS
Craig Kimbrel
2020 Stats 
   
   
Games Played2718
   
Games Started00
   
Innings Pitched27.015.0
   
Wins10
   
Losses21
   
Saves12
   
Blown Saves31
   
Holds83
   
Hits Allowed1410
   
Earned Runs89
   
Home Runs Allowed12
   
Strikeouts5328
   
Walks1612
   
ERA2.675.28
   
WHIP1.111.43
   
Who Should I Draft? Player Projections
  James Karinchak
RP - CLE
James Karinchak
Craig Kimbrel
RP - CWS
Craig Kimbrel
2021 Projections 
   
   
Games Played6156
   
Games Started00
   
Innings Pitched61.354.1
   
Wins33
   
Losses32
   
Saves2224
   
Blown Saves911
   
Holds64
   
Hits Allowed4040
   
Earned Runs2222
   
Home Runs Allowed78
   
Strikeouts9979
   
Walks3226
   
ERA3.233.65
   
WHIP1.191.21
   
Who Should I Draft? Player Notes
  James Karinchak
RP - CLE
James Karinchak
Craig Kimbrel
RP - CWS
Craig Kimbrel
News 
 The Cleveland Indians have optioned reliever James Karinchak to Triple-A Columbus. His roster spot will go to first baseman Bobby Bradley, who was activated from the IL.
Andersen Pickard
Sat, Aug 28th
Craig Kimbrel had a rough ninth inning, allowing a one out double followed by two walks and a sacrifice fly that scored a run. He did chip in two strikeouts though.
Ethan Biddle - The Work of Ethan Biddle
Mon, Sep 13th
 Cleveland right-hander James Karinchak threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings in a 7-2 win over the Rangers on Wednesday. He struck out two and allowed just one hit.
Matthew Terelle
Thu, Aug 26th
Craig Kimbrel pitched the seventh inning on Saturday, allowing one hit while striking out three batters.
Ethan Biddle - The Work of Ethan Biddle
Sun, Sep 5th
 Cleveland right-hander James Karinchak allowed a run in his lone inning of work in a 4-3 loss to Oakland on Tuesday.
Matthew Terelle
Wed, Aug 11th
Craig Kimbrel came into the ninth with a seven run lead but ended up giving up three earned runs on two hits and a walk. He would strike out two batters though.
Ethan Biddle - The Work of Ethan Biddle
Sat, Aug 28th
 Cleveland right-hander James Karinchak allowed three runs in 1/3 of an inning in a 12-11 win over the White Sox on Saturday. He walked one and gave up two hits, including a two-run homer.
Matthew Terelle
Sun, Aug 1st
Craig Kimbrel pitched one inning, allowing one hit while also striking out one batter to earn his 24th save of the season and first with the White Sox.
Ethan Biddle - The Work of Ethan Biddle
Fri, Aug 27th
 Cleveland right-hander James Karinchak threw a scoreless eighth inning in a 3-2 win over the Rays on Sunday. He worked around one walk in the frame.
Matthew Terelle
Sun, Jul 25th
Craig Kimbrel didn't allow a ball to leave the infield on Monday, but lost the game after an infield hit, a wild pitch, a sacrifice ground ball, and another wild pitch. He would also walk a batter and strike out two.
Ethan Biddle - The Work of Ethan Biddle
Tue, Aug 24th
Notes 
 Karinchak is expected to be Cleveland's closer after Brad Hand moved on to the Nationals, though it's not a sure thing yet. Yes, he walks too many batters (5.33 per nine innings), but you can get away with it when you strike out nearly half the batters you face and hitters bat .151 against you overall. Karinchak has two absolutely devastating pitches: a mid-90's fastball (.184 batting average against, .151 xBA) and a power curveball (.140 batting average against, .114 xBA). Cleveland may not have a ton of success this year and hence save opportunities may be limited, but Karinchak can be a dominant fantasy reliever if he gets the job. Monitor reports out of the spring to see when and if Terry Francona formerly anoints him as the closer. If he does, he should vault to being a top-6 or 7 reliever.
Dan Harris - FantasyPros
As a whole, Kimbrel's 2020 numbers were abysmal. A 5.28 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a walk rate of 17.4%. And yet, there were some encouraging signs. Not only did his strikeout rate bounce back to 40.6%, but he was actually an elite pitcher after his first four outings. How elite? He pitched to a 1.42 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and stuck out 53.1% of the batters he faced. It wasn't perfect, as Kimbrel still walked five batters per nine innings over that stretch. But he showed that he still has some has left in the tank. Although he never reclaimed the closer's job despite his strong finish, it's a good bet that the Cubs hand him the ninth-inning role to start, as they try to rebuild his trade value in the final year of his deal. That means Kimbrel should at least get save chances for the first several weeks of the season, and, as such, should be drafted as low-end second closer with just a modicum of upside.
Dan Harris - FantasyPros
 "Special K" used the third-highest rate of elevated four seamers to produce a dominant season out of the bullpen. 53 strikeouts in 27 innings led to the second-highest strikeout rate in baseball (behind only Devin Williams). Karinchak was blocked for saves by Brad Hand during the 2020 season, but his departure this offseason opens the door for Karinchak to handle ninth inning duties. Assuming Cleveland doesn't sign a "traditional" veteran closer, then I'd aggressively draft Karinchak as a top-three reliever for fantasy baseball purposes.
Brendan Tuma - FantasyPros
Over his final 14 appearances (12 2/3 IP) Kimbrel registered a 27:7 K:BB ratio to go along with a 1.42 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. I'd like confirmation from the Cubs that he's entering the season as the closer before going "all in" on drafting him, but as long as he gets the ninth inning I'll be interested. Kimbrel has likely turned off many fantasy managers with some ugly blowup performances the past two years. This creates a buying opportunity. Kimbrel is a perfect candidate to draft for those who prefer to wait on saves.
Brendan Tuma - FantasyPros