Joey Krehbiel, RHP, Reliever
We cheated a little bit and bumped Joey up one spot in our voting from 37th to 36th. Why you ask? It's his 21st birthday, so here's our version of buying you a beer Mr. Krehbiel. A utility player in high school was drafted early by the Angels in 2011 and with a breakout season in 2013, is now showing why they selected him so high.
"Out of everyone that came through Burlington this season, Krehbiel is definitely the guy that will make the Majors." - Broadcaster in the Midwest League from 2013.
Talk about an athlete. During the draft, no one knew whether Krehbiel would be drafted as a third baseman or a pitcher. The Seminole High School (Seminole, Florida) hit .462 with a .769 slugging percentage his senior year, but started hitting the radar of Florida college recruits his Junior year. Krehbiel is not an infielder though, he's a pitcher, where he has shown success early in his minor league career. Krehbiel shows slight struggles keeping the ball low, and has steadily become a fly ball pitcher. Krehbiel has the standard fastball, curveball, changeup style arsenal. I'd imagine coaches would avoid helping him develop a slider since he has struggles keeping the ball away from left-handed batters, and a slider would break into a left-handed batter. One big note is that Matt Wise was named the new pitching coach of the Angels High-A farm team, where Krehbiel will be in a short time. Wise was a big righty who had an outstanding changeup against lefties at the plate in his playing days... hmm, think that might help a young pitcher?
Krehbiel has picked up some muscle which has helped with his fastball velocity, but he could pick up a little bit more to put him in the mid 90's range, and help him be a healthy competitor for the next level.
When it comes to Krehbiel's changeup, it's good. No other word for it, not outstanding, not sub par, or any other word for it... just good. This is due mostly to his command with the pitch and he can place it wherever he likes. His curve though needs work, just like any young pitcher. Opposite of the changeup, command is probably his problem when it comes to the curveball, but of course, that will develop with more innings pitched.
Krehbiel had struggles at the begining of his first full professional season as a middle reliever. In 2012, a slow start lead him to a 5.12 earned-run-average, which is why his stock may have dropped in other prospect noting. In his last nine appearances of 2012 though, he allowed just two runs, one earned, with a 5.07 hits per nine.
His late presence was not a fluke as in 2013, things turned around completely for Krehbiel. If you take one five earned run performance, Krehbiel would have had a 2.07 earned-run-average. With the five earned run performance, he touted a 2.74 ERA over 48 games, including one start where he went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Left-handed batters did have Krehbiel's number though, posting a 4.05 ERA against him over 2013 while batting .265. With every bad note is a good note though, as right handed batters had no prayer against Krehbiel only batting .159, and keeping him at a 1.85 earned-run-average. Despite not having a high 90's fastball, Krehbiel was still able to strikeout over 9.5 per nine.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
I can't imagine that Krehbiel will be back in short season or low-A ball this next season. Imagine him to play setup man for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2014, while he develops more velocity into his pitching, as well as build command against lefties at the plate with new Angels farm system pitching coach, Matt Wise. We expect to see Krehbiel in the Angels bullpen sometime around late 2016 or out of Spring Training in 2017.
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