In an effort to squeeze this in before midnight, I’m going to make this short and sweet. We’re 46 days away from Opening Day and by now you know how “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” works.
We’re gonna do the short-short version.
Here comes an unfortunately short look at…
For the background on how the Brewers acquired Corey Andrew Knebel and some of his history prior to the 2015 season, check out last year’s profile. This will save me some typing time.
As for that 2015 season, Knebel experienced some significant growth throughout the course of it. Appearing in 48 games in relief and tossing 50.1 innings, the right-handed Texan finished the year with an ERA+ of 124, which is to say that his park-adjusted numbers were 24 percent better than league average. A lot of that had to do with his strikeout numbers (58 K) and his ability to minimize damage.
Knebel did walk 17 hitters in his 50.1 IP, and that can be a huge problem for relievers, but his 3.22 ERA at the end of the day signifies a decent strand rate. You’d rather he not need to pitch his way out of trouble, but the fireman role is one he could really be useful in for 2016 as he continues to mature.
Entering a “we desperately need a strikeout” situation can be brutal on pitchers in terms of leverage and stress but Knebel did well, allowing only three inherited runs to score all year.
With the bullpen now being constructed the way it is in terms of returning back-end arms, the role which manager Craig Counsell is going to rely on Knebel should increase as well.
This is a player who shot through the minor leagues after being picked in the 2013 draft. He’s still just 24 years old and refining his craft. He looks like he’ll be a good one for a while, something the Brewers certainly want to have a lot of as they move toward their next competitive window.
Follow Corey on Twitter: @coreyknebel29
Catch up on BBtJN ’16: