CHOP SHOP: Braves Kimbrel named TSN rookie of the year

The Atlanta Braves season may have ended on a bit of a sour note but the off-season has had several bright moments over the last week. First the team announced the hiring of new hitting coach Greg Walker and assistant Scott Fletcher on Friday, and now the team can tout Craig Kimbrel after the closer was named the Sporting News’ 2011 NL rookie of the year. The NL All-Star broke the rookie save record with 46 on the season while posting a 2.10 ERA. The 23-year-old finished a league-leading 64 games, pitching 97.2 innings and striking out 127 batters. During one stretch, Kimbrel did not allow an earned run in 38 straight appearances from June 11 until finally surrendering a run September 9. Kimbrel kept the trophy in Atlanta as right fielder Jason Heyward won the award one year ago. Teammate Freddie Freeman likely received votes after hitting 21 home runs and driving in 76 runs while posting a .996 field percentage at first base in 156 games. Freeman collected 161 hits and hit .282 in his first full season in Atlanta. 112 National League players participated in the voting process.

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