2. Craig Kimbrel is Major League Baseball’s active leader in saves.
Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have reached the final stage of postseason play, what they accomplish in the regular season does not matter as much. It all comes down to recording important outs in Red October — including a hopeful World Series appearance.
To do so, manager Rob Thomson’s squad will need to rely on players with ample experience at what they do best. Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Rhys Hoskins will need to slug home runs. Trea Turner will need to get on and steal bases. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola will need to go deep into games. For the eight-time All-Star in Craig Kimbrel, that will be retiring batters unscathed in the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings.
After all, Kimbrel is Major League Baseball’s active leader in saves with 394. He is closely followed by new Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen (391 saves). The duo respectively has the seventh and eighth-most saves all time, trailing only Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), Francisco Rodríguez (437), John Franco (424), and Billy Wagner (422).
The last time the Phillies had a closer near the top of MLB’s all-time saves list was Jonathan Papelbon — who turned out to be an effective pitcher for them despite his controversial nature. Papelbon is the Phillies’ all-time save leader and sits at 368 career saves, the 11th most in league history. In parts of four seasons in red pinstripes, the right-hander recorded 123 saves.
Fittingly, both Papelbon and Kimbrel joined the Phillies after winning the World Series with the Boston Red Sox.