Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin Player: Craig Kimbrel & Jeremy Hellickson
Every Tuesday Sports Grind Entertainment presents you with the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin Player of the Week. This week the recipient of this prestigious honor goes to Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson who finished their first full seasons in the Major Leagues and were named the winners of this year’s Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards. Kimbrel, 23, won the National League’s award in a unanimous decision becoming the 10th NL player to win the award unanimously and the 17th overall. Hellickson joined teammate Evan Longoria to become the second player in Tampa Bay team history to be recognized as the American League’s top rookie.
Kimbrel, who set a Major League record for saves by a rookie with 46, was the favorite for the award. His saves total led the NL, and he finished with a 2.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 77 innings. Hellickson was a workhorse in a young Tampa Bay rotation that helped fuel the Rays to a late-season surge and into the playoffs via the AL Wild Card. He was 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA, ranking eighth in the league in ERA and striking out 117 hitters in 189 innings.
It is just the fourth time since each league began honoring a player in 1949 that two pitchers have earned the honor in the same season; the others being Joe Black and Harry Byrd in 1952, Butch Metzger and Pat Zachry (co-winners in the NL) and Mark Fidrych in 1976, and Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Righetti in 1981.
Congratulations Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Hellickson you are this weeks Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin Player.