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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-29, Matt Koch

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First off: It’s pronounced “kook”. Not “kotch”, “kock” or even “koch”.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 29: Matt Koch

  • Date of birth: November 2, 1990
  • Ht/Wt: 6’3”, 215 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 7 games, 18.0 IP, 2.99 ERA, 10:4 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.71 [pattern of votes below]

Koch came from the Mets in August 2015, along with fellow spring trainee Miller Diaz, in exchange for Addison Reed. After being a September call-up last year for the D-backs, he made a handful of relief appearances, then stepped into the rotation for two final week starts, after Zack Greinke went wonky. Small sample size there, but the results were impressive, Koch throwing five innings of two-run ball in the first, before finishing off the season with six innings of one-run ball in our final contest. He was very good for Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League too: he made four starts and one relief appearance, with a 1.19 ERA over 22.2 innings, and a 13:1 K:BB ratio.

He seems kinda overlooked, although it’s understandable, given his low K rate (5.8 per nine IP in the minors). At that level, he needs to continue showing very good control (1.6 BB/9), because he can’t afford free base-runners. In the majors, hitters made contact 85.5% of the time, the highest of any D-backs pitcher, and well above MLB average (78.2%). But it wasn’t bad contact: his soft-hit rate of 28.3% was the highest of anyone with 150+ pitches to chart, and that helped contribute to his success. I’d like to see him miss a few more bats, because the gap between soft and hard content is a razor’s edge for a pitcher to ride. Still, am curious to see what he does in 2017.

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