Position: Pitcher

DOB: November 26, 1991

Height: 6’4″ / Weight: 220

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

40-man roster: Yes

How acquired: Trade with Rangers (January 19, 2015)

Profile: Acquired from Texas along with pitcher Marcos Diplan and infielder Luis Sardinas in a January 2015 deal that sent pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers, Knebel was originally a first round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2013 following three successful seasons at the University of Texas. He pitched for the Tigers Low-A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps, after signing, then rocketed up through Detroit’s system, making brief stops at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo before making his big league debut with the Tigers in May of 2014. In July of 2014, Knebel was dealt to Texas as part of a trade for veteran Joakim Soria. After coming over to the Brewers prior to the start of 2015, he split time between Colorado Springs and Milwaukee bullpens in both 2015 and 2016. Knebel features a mid-90’s fastball with good bite to it and has clocked in as high as 98 mph in the past. He also has a big, sharp curveball that is an outstanding pitch for him, as well as a changeup that he commands well. A strike-thrower who closed games in college, Knebel looks to be a valuable late inning part of the Brewers bullpen for the next several seasons.

2013: Opting to forego his senior season with the Longhorns and sign with Detroit, Knebel was sent to West Michigan in the Midwest League to make his pro debut. He quickly moved into the closer’s role and saved 15 games wile posting an 0.87 ERA in 31 relief appearances. The Tigers assigned him to the Arizona Fall League following the season and he appeared in nine more games out of the bullpen with the Mesa Solar Sox.

2014: On the fast track for Detroit, Knebel skipped over High-A and opened up 2014 with Double-A Erie. His dominance continued there and he was rewarded with another promotion, this time to Triple-A Toledo, in early May. After just three relief outings with the Mud Hens, Knebel was called up to join the Tigers bullpen, making his big league debut against the Rangers on May 24th. He shuffled between Detroit and Toledo over the next two months, before being traded to Texas in late July. He joined the Rangers Triple-A squad in Round Rock but appeared in just nine games before being shut down with an elbow injury.

2015: Traded to Milwaukee prior to the start of the 2015 campaign, Knebel was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he served as the Sky Sox closer, recording six saves before being called up to Milwaukee in mid-May. He saw action in 48 games after joining the Brewers, posting a 3.22 ERA while striking out 58 batters over 50.1 innings of work.

2016: An oblique injury knocked Knebel out for the first two months of the season but after a handful of rehab outings he re-joined the Brewers pen in early June. He struggled to throw strikes however, and was sent back down to Colorado Springs after five games with the Brewers. After ironing things out in Triple-A, Knebel returned to the Brewers in July and pitched better, logging 32.22 big league innings while recording a pair of saves.

MPP Pre-Season Prospect Rankings
2015 (#11)