November 15, 2011 - International League (IL) - Gwinnett Braves
Lawrenceville, GA - Former Gwinnett Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel received the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year award in an announcement made Monday by the Atlanta Braves. A dominant closer for the G-Braves in 2010 that fulfilled the same role with Atlanta in 2011, Kimbrel secured all 32 first-place votes from the Baseball Writersâ Association of America in becoming the seventh Atlanta Braves player to win the award all-time.
Kimbrel edged teammate and fellow former G-Brave Freddie Freeman, who earned 21 second-place votes and seven third-place votes.
Kimbrel, 23, set a Major League rookie record with 46 saves in 2011, going 4-3 with a 2.10 ERA (18 ER in 77.0 IP) and 127 strikeouts in 79 appearances. Major League opponents hit just .178 against him in his first full professional season. In 2010, he went 4-0 with one save and a 0.44 ERA in 21 outings for the Braves, but did not qualify for Rookie of the Year voting.
Originally drafted by the Braves in the third round in 2008 out of Wallace State Community College (AL), Kimbrel pitched two scoreless outings with Gwinnett in 2009 and enjoyed breakout success with the G- Braves in 2010. He went 3-2 with 23 saves and a 1.62 ERA (10 ER in 55.2 IP) in 48 International League outings that season. Kimbrel shared the clubâs âMost Outstanding Pitcherâ of 2010 award with right- hander Stephen Marek.
Kimbrel is the first Braves player to win the award since Rafael Furcal in 2000 and the first unanimous NL
Rookie of the Year selection since Albert Pujols of St. Louis in 2001.