Milwaukee Brewers closer Corey Knebel has developed into one of the best relievers in baseball. He recently set the record for consecutive relief appearances with at least one strikeout. His season is already historic, but how good is Knebel really?
Currently, Corey Knebel’s ERA sits at 0.96 in 37 2/3 innings of work. Only Pat Neshek, Felipe Rivero, and Craig Kimbrel have better marks. He’s only allowed four earned runs this season, with most of them coming on the two home runs he’s given up. He’s able to sustain this with his elite strikeout rate. Knebel has fanned 44.2% of batters faced so far this season. He’s striking out almost every other batter, and that’s allowed him to maintain a microscopic ERA.
65 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings is an insane amount. That’s almost 22 innings worth of strikeouts. He can use both his blazing fast four-seam fastball and his sharp curve to generate whiffs and foul balls, putting him ahead in the count consistently.
Runners On Base
When runners do manage to get on, they rarely move. Knebel has stranded 96.5% of runners that have reached base against him. His current strand rate is almost 20% higher than his career 77.9% mark, but regression isn’t a concern with pitcher who can strike batters out at the rate Knebel can.
Are There Concerns?
Knebel’s 11.6% walk rate is concerning, but not unexpected. His career mark is at 9.8%. 11.6% is within a standard deviation of his career mark. His pitches also have a ton of movement, and it’s not a huge shock to see Knebel walk hitters at the rate he does. He may not finish the year with a sub-1.00 ERA, but it’s nothing to be worried about.
Milwaukee Brewers closer has not only developed into a legit option in the ninth inning, but he’s become on of the best relievers in baseball. The Brewers have a solution for the back end of their bullpen. Now they need to develop a bridge from the starter to Knebel if they want to continue to hold leads and rack up wins.