Tigers Scouting Report #4: Corey Knebel

With the bullpen issues the Tigers have been having so far this season, fans would naturally gravitate to looking toward the minors to see who the Tigers have coming up that could be of assistance. Corey Knebel fits the mold of a dominating late-inning reliever - can he be ready to face big leaguers soon?

Corey Knebel


Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/26/1991 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6-3/195
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 1st Round
Ranking History: #4 (2014)

Background: The Tigers second pick of the 2013 draft, coming in the supplemental first round, Knebel went higher than expected and signed for a $1.4 million signing bonus. He then dominated right out of the gate, posting a 0.87 ERA, 2-1 record, and 15 saves in 31 outings for Low-A West Michigan.


2013 Stats - Pitching
West Mich 3101531.014043104100.870.772-1

Scouting Report

Body: Quality frame; lean and strong; could add strength without compromising his abilities; no concerns with the physicality.

Delivery/Mechanics: Surprisingly consistent arm slot; can get a little aggressive with the delivery and get quick from the rocker to the balance; generally consistent; mechanics can work in longer outings but fit extremely well in short bursts where minor inconsistencies aren't as significant.

Fastball: Easy 93-94 mph heat; ball comes out of his hand with ease; jumps at hitters with explosive life; velo will reach 97 mph at times; doesn't lose life in upper velo registers; maintains velo in stretch; slightly over the top slot leads to exceptional leverage to plate; dominating pitch at best and still a quality offering when it's not; gets after hitters with FB; may still sit in 94-96 range at MLB level. Grade – Present 6+/Future 7

Curveball: Ridiculous pitch; power breaker in the low-80s; stays over the top and gets consistent overhand rotation; tons of sharp downward bite and depth; misses tons of bats with offering; second dominating pitch; CB is actually better than FB; MLB knee-buckler right now. Grade – 7/7

Changeup: Reasonable third pitch; works to average with regularity; won't reach much higher grade; pitch isn't thrown as much in short stints; has enough feel to throw regularly to LHH; doesn't need pitch but will keep in his back pocket. Grade – 5/5

Control/Command: Typically throws strikes; works FB low in zone; will lose up in zone at times, particularly when he tries to overthrow and get too aggressive; won't have command profile but should keep walks in check.

Other: Makeup issues may be overblown some; has done some dumb things in his youth but has late-inning intensity on the mound; can field position.

Final Word

Summary: True late inning profile; gets after it with FB; comes back with hammer CB; CB can dominate and carry outings for him; FB has plus-plus ceiling; CH is no slouch; will throw strikes but can struggle to locate; intensity on mound is fantastic but can get too emotional on occasion; high-powered relief arm.

Risk: Low risk; rapid success at Double-A; polished arsenal; two excellent pitches; floor is amazingly close to ceiling.

Projection: MLB ready at some point in 2014; should own closer's role after Joe Nathan departs; has potential to be dominating MLB closer and at worst top-flight setup reliever.

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