In a season where it seems like the Milwaukee Brewers cannot do anything right, the bullpen has been one of their strong suits. Not only has Francisco Rodriguez been nearly perfect in the bullpen, but Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress have been excellent for the second straight season. Even Michael Blazek was solid in almost every role. But one arm that has also racked up key innings has been Corey Knebel. With an arm that has the makings of a future closer, here is a look at the fireballer’s first full season in the major leagues.
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Though Knebel is still just 23-years-old and fresh out of the 2013 draft, he has started to earn himself big innings late in games. In 41 innings of work this year, he has struck out 47 batters and posted an ERA of 3.51. While he has surrendered seven home runs on the year, his strikeout average of 10.6 per nine innings and his strikeout to walk ratio of 3.36 to 1 have helped him to be generally successful. In his 39 outings, he has struck out at least one batter 30 times, including striking out the side four times.
When he was acquired before the season began, I predicted that he would become the future closer, and with definite closer stuff, I have no reason to change that view. Good teams have great bullpens, and with a blazing fastball and the ability to miss bats, Knebel is going to be a big piece in the upcoming rebuild. Jeffress and Smith are great, but combining an even better and more developed arm in Knebel will help to take the Brewers’ back to the top of the division.