The dominance of Craig Kimbrel

Updated: September 2, 2011, 11:50 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Jonny Venters could be a closer but really doesn't care about it, partly because he's in awe of the guy who has the job for the Braves, Craig Kimbrel. See, Venters once played catch with Kimbrel and was overwhelmed by the pure stuff. "The guy is ridiculous," Venters said earlier this season, grinning.

Kimbrel's surface-level numbers are staggering: 110 strikeouts in 66⅔ innings, with a 1.62 ERA and only one homer among 40 hits allowed; he's pitched 87⅔ innings in the big leagues and allowed one home run. His save on Thursday was his 42nd, a record; with each save the rest of the year, he will set a new record for rookies.

But peek a little deeper and you get an even greater understanding of just how overwhelmed hitters are when they face Kimbrel, who mixes his 98 mph fastball with a finishing slider.