8. Corey Knebel
Knebel came over in the Yovanni Gallardo trade. Originally drafted 39th overall in the ’13 draft by the Tigers, Knebel has traveled quite a bit over the last year, as he went from Detroit to Texas in the Joakim Soria trade at the deadline as well. He got a taste of the majors last year with Detroit, and should be ready to take a spot in the Brewers bullpen out of spring training.
Knebel utilizes a 3 pitch mix, but more routinely utilizes his 2 plus offerings. He has a big fastball, sitting in the low 90’s with it, and occasionally touching the 96-97 MPH. His curveball also grades out as plus. It’s been clocked in the low 80’s, and he gets a ton of movement on it. He also comes with a change-up, but it is well behind the other pitches, and probably won’t end up being major league average. Knebel’s motion is very high effort, but it does help him get the velocity he does out of his 6’3’’ 195 lbs. body.
Throughout his entire minor league career, Knebel has been a strikeout guy. Beyond 18.1 innings in his Tiger’s 2014 Triple A stint, he has registered double-digit K/9 at every stop, and even then he just missed at 9.82. He rarely gives up home runs; in 85 professional innings (not including his AFL stint) he has only given up 3 long balls. He has also maintained exceptional FIP marks, as he has stayed below the 3.00 mark at all but one stop. The only statistical issue Knebel has really had thus far is his walks. He has only been below 3 BB/9 once, which was his 2013 season in Single A with the Tigers. He will need to watch the walks going forward, but otherwise, the statistical profile is definitely there for Knebel.
As noted above, Knebel got an 8.2 inning taste of the big leagues last year with Detroit. He should have a solid opportunity to break camp with the Brewers, and that just may be the start for him. Some see closer potential in Knebel. It likely won’t happen right out of the gate, but the future could be very bright for this power arm.