Corey Knebel made a name for himself with the Dodgers two seasons ago in the NLCS. With the arms that were coming out of the Milwaukee bullpen at the time, no one thought much of the 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher.
Knebel was coming off of a 2018 season in which he appeared to have regressed. His fastball picked up some velocity and his strikeout percentage was up, but he was also getting barreled way more often. Knebel would go on to make 6 appearances against the Dodgers that series while absolutely blowing batters away. He struck out 10 in 7 innings and was charged with just 1 run.
Knebel started to go downhill quickly after having Tommy John surgery before the 2019 season. His attempted return during the 2020 season only seemed to highlight the fact that he was still not 100 percent. His fastball was down to just 94 mph and his spin rates saw a little of a dip by some metrics. Regardless of what happened, the Dodgers scooped him up.
Something from that 2018 series must have spoken to them because the Dodgers made the trade and committed to Knebel immediately. Los Angeles went on to seal the deal by paying him just a little over $5 million in arbitration. From what Knebel has said about the last 2 years, there’s reason to believe he is on the right track.
I don’t feel like I put myself in a situation to succeed last year. Basically, I was trying to learn how to throw again. … I was rehabbing, trying to get my arm back into shape, and by doing that I might have sacrificed some other things, like hip mobility, hamstring strength, my release, how I was landing. It wasn’t ideal.
If anyone can get an injured pitcher back on track, it’s the Dodgers. The franchise has made a name acquiring pitchers that are coming off of serious injuries and getting them on the right path. If they can get Knebel even close to his 2017 form, that bullpen will be terrifying.
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