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2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews: #39, Joey Krehbiel

Briefly seen in July.

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
  • 2018 rating: 3.27
  • 2017 rating: N/A
  • 2018 salary: league minimum
  • 2018 performance: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 0 SO
  • 2019 status: pre-arbitration

Originally an 11th-round pick by the Angels, he came to the Diamondbacks in a July 2014 trade. Krehbiel and Zach Borenstein went to Arizona, while Tony Campana and Joe Thatcher went the other way. Almost four years to the day later, Krehbiel made his major-league debut, becoming part of the 2018 bullpen churn which saw the D-backs use 23 different relievers this year. [The second-highest number in franchise history, trailing the 25 used two years previously] Sixteen of those bullpen arms were in July, a season-high until roster expansion in September saw sixteen relief pitchers take the mound for Arizona. Probably related: those two months were the highest ERAs for our bullpen.

In Krehbiel’s case, his cup of coffee came after Troy Scribner was weighed and found wanting as a starting pitcher. Scribner was released on July 2, and Krehbiel was the lucky recipient of a ticket from Reno as a result. He made his major-league debut the same day against the Cardinals with one out in the seventh inning. He walked the first batter faced, Tommy Pham, retired the next two to end the frame (below), and followed with another zero in the 8th, despite a two-out single. Two days later, Joey mopped-up after Yoshihisa Hirano, Fernando Salas and one of the De La Rosas had combined to allow seven runs in 1.2 innings. He stranded two in scoring position, then worked around a lead-off walk in the ninth.

However, the day after that second appearance, on July 5, Krehbiel was sent back down to AAA, 2018 Reno Bus Lines Most Valuable Passenger of the Year winner, Silvino Bracho, replacing him. With the arrival by trade of several additional bullpen arms later that month (a.k.a. the law firm of Andriese, Diekman and Ziegler), our depth expanded sufficiently for Krehbiel not to be needed again. His three innings currently ranks fourth best among the 11 Diamondbacks with a 0.00 ERA - the leader there is Jarrod Parker, the only starting pitcher on the list, with 5.2 scoreless innings. [Five of the eleven are position players: Alex Avila has 2.0 IP, Jeff Cirillo, Augie Ojeda, Josh Wilson and Steve Finley one inning apiece]

With regard to 2019, and the need to retool the bullpen again for the 2019 campaign, he is perhaps a more under-the-radar name among our prospects than the likes of Jimmie Sherfy or Yoan Lopez. Yet he may well be somebody we see more of. Krehbiel had a decent season for the Reno Aces, with a 4.24 ERA (Pacific Coast League average ERA was 4.61, and the Aces park is generally seen as one of the most pitcher-friendly in the league, even since the humidor was introduced for the 2014 season). Over 57.1 Triple-A innings, Joey had an impressive 71 strikeouts, a K-rate of 11.1 per nine innings, and his K:BB ratio of 2.84 was the best of any Reno pitcher with 50+ IP.

Admittedly, there wasn’t much sign of that in his brief spell at the major-league level, where Krehbiel failed to strike out any one of the dozen batters faced. But small sample size gonna small sample size. He’s cheap and he’s under team control. As such, I can imagine Mike Hazen and crew finding some use for Joey.