CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Raising Aces: Going Ve... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Mo... (05/13)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Tommy La ... (05/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: How t... (05/23)

May 23, 2014

The Call-Up

Corey Knebel

by Jordan Gorosh and Mauricio Rubio


The Situation: The Tigers bullpen has floundered out of the gate to the tune of a 4.22 ERA and a bunch of revolving doors for the last two spots. Enter Corey Knebel, the Tigers’ fifth-rated prospect according to Jason Parks' preseason ranking, and one of the best pure relief arms in the minors. Knebel will look to lock down the middle to late innings and hand the ball off to Joe Nathan.

Background: Selected in the compensatory first round (39th overall) in the 2013 draft out of the University of Texas, Knebel flew through the minors at a torrid pace after eviscerating the competition. In Low-A West Michigan last season, Knebel appeared in 31 games, allowed 14 hits, and struck out 41 with 15 saves, posting a .133 batting average against and a 0.87 ERA. After that stellar performance, he headed to the Arizona Fall League, where he 8 tossed 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs and striking out 11. To start this season, the Tigers gave Knebel an aggressive assignment to Double-A Erie—where he allowed two earned runs in 15 IP, striking out 23 with a WHIP of 1.06—before sending him to Triple-A Toledo for three appearances that spanned four scoreless innings.

Scouting Report: The Tigers selected Knebel with the intention of making him a starter. He has the arsenal, but his max-effort delivery and balls-to-the-wall style pushed him to the pen. The 6'3 right hander possesses a funky, high-¾ delivery with a quick arm swing, and he’s a short-burst guy through and through. There have been some concerns about his attitude in the past, stemming from two suspensions and other disciplinary incidents during his college career; however, I've heard nothing but good things regarding his character since his selection. The attitude issues seem to be behind him, and a little bit of quirkiness in a late-inning reliever has never been a bad thing.

Knebel’s fastball ranges from 92-97, but his comfort zone is the 94-95 MPH velocity band. The pitch has excellent tilt and isn't often squared up. He challenges often with the fastball, which has late life and generates swings-and-misses, and he isn't afraid to move it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. The fastball command can come and go, and that's the main point of instructions the Tigers have emphasized with Knebel this season. I’d give the fastball a 6, with a 6+ future.

Knebel also features a curveball, which is certainly in consideration for “plus plus” territory. It has two-plane movement with extremely tight spin and break; the pitch is a true hammer. It's a swing-and-miss offering in the majors at 79-82 mph, and Knebel has slightly better command of the curve than the fastball at present. He can shorten it up and throw it for strikes if needed, while using it as a chase pitch down and away to right-handed hitters or back foot to left-handed hitters.

Knebel also can work in a changeup, especially to lefties, which typically works in the low-to-mid 80s. He uses this pitch while warming up and brings it out in games if the rest of his arsenal is working correctly. He’ll probably throw it 5-7 percent of the time at the most, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go to a two-pitch repertoire exclusively. (This season, he’s aleady scrapped his slider, which he used to throw in college.) Overall, Knebel has all of the ingredients to be a shutdown closer someday if he can refine his fastball command.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Prospects,  Detroit Tigers

4 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Raising Aces: Going Ve... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Mo... (05/13)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The Call-Up: Tommy La ... (05/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: How t... (05/23)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Live That Fantasy
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Brandon McCarthy and the ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bringing the Band Back...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Best and Worst Mechanics: NL W...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Martin in Miami, Nate ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Padres Wish Upton a St...

MORE FROM MAY 23, 2014
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Ray, the Rays, and th...
Premium Article An Agent's Take: Why I Avoid the Draft
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Billy Hamilton/David Ortiz...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Baseball ProGUESTus: Fantasy Gets Impersonal
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Nine
Daily League Strategy: Affording a Super-Ace

MORE BY JORDAN GOROSH
2014-08-01 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Great Big David Pr...
2014-07-24 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Tigers Bullpen Gets Le...
2014-05-28 - Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Nine
2014-05-23 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Corey Knebel
2014-05-23 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 18: That's...
2014-05-22 - Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Eight
2014-05-20 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 20: The One T...
More...

MORE THE CALL-UP
2014-06-04 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Jonathan Singleton
2014-05-31 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Oscar Taveras
2014-05-29 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Tommy La Stella
2014-05-23 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Corey Knebel
2014-05-13 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Rafael Montero
2014-05-09 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Rougned Odor
2014-05-07 - Premium Article The Call-Up: C.J. Cron
More...