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Craig Kimbrel

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Ten days before his 26th birthday, Craig Kimbrel notched his 150th save, the youngest in baseball history to reach that number. Whenever we talk about the “youngest in history,” the natural reaction is to look up at the record holder, see how much he had accomplished at the same age, and debate whether the challenger has what it takes to surpass him.

So, how many saves did Mariano have before his 26th birthday…

Would you believe me if I told you ZERO? Rivera had exactly ZERO saves before his age 26 season. Even as a 26 year old set up man, Rivera saved just five games for the World Champion 1996 Yankees (managing to finish 3rd in the Cy Young voting in the process). So as hard as it is to believe, Kimbrel will have a 180-save head start on the Greatest of All Time. Even still, lets say you were having a few beers with Kimbrel and able to cut through the canned interview “one game at a time” crap which he’s trained to say, I bet he still wouldn’t say for sure if he could get to 652. But if anybody’s gonna do it, wouldn’t this be the guy?

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