Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/26/1991 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
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|
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.
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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