Tigers reportedly come to terms with Knebel, but don't pencil him in at closer just yet
And, yes, they drafted at least one guy with experience in that role in college.
But, no, the selection of Texas Longhorns closer Corey Knebel was not a “need” pick, if there can even be such a thing in baseball, where most players are at least a year away from contributing, when drafted.
In fact, the Tigers don’t expect Knebel to even be a closer for them in the long run, let alone now.
The Tigers, who reportedly came to terms with the Competitive Balance Round A selection on Monday, expect that Knebel will be a starter.
“We feel like Corey can start. He has three pitches — obviously two plus power pitches now — but he has a delivery and an arm action, for us, to start,” said David Chadd, the Tigers’ vice president of amateur scouting, during the draft. “I think he was put in that closer’s role at the University of Texas, in my mind, because he was a dominant closer, and had success doing it. But we’re going to send Corey out as a starter.”
Jim Callis of Baseball America reported that the deal was for the full slot value of $1,433,400. He later said on Twitter that Knebel “has size & enough feel for change-up to make it work.
There are no concerns about Knebel’s two reported run-ins with authority while at Texas, earning him a pair of suspensions.
He is purported to have given a teammate a urine sample to use as his own for a drug test, and also had a run-in with a coach.
“Well, I can answer that by saying this: We don’t believe we got a problem child. I think we got a young individual that might have made some bad decisions in the past, but ... we’re comfortable with the answers we were given, and that’s why we made our selection,” Chadd said. “We, as a collective group — and I’m going to mention Tim Grieve, our area scout — we’ve done our due diligence on the off-the field issues with all these guys, off and on the field. We’re comfortable with all the answers we were given. Obviously, extremely comfortable with their abilities, and that’s what allowed us to make the selections.”
But those are the only instances of misbehavior in a three-year career that saw him earn All-America honors as a freshman.
He finished with 37 career saves at Texas, leaving him four shy of Huston Street’s school record.