The Tigers optioned left-hander Robbie Ray to Triple-A Toledo after today’s start against the Rangers and Chris Iott of MLive.com hears that the team will call up right-handed reliever Corey Knebel for Friday’s game.
It’s been a rapid rise for Knebel, who was drafted No. 39 overall by the Tigers in last June’s First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old has posted a 0.90 ERA and 68/19 K/BB ratio over his first 50 innings in pro ball. This includes 11 appearances in Double-A this year and three scoreless appearances after a recent promotion to Triple-A. He’ll be the second player from the 2013 draft class to reach the majors, as the Indians called up fourth-rounder Kyle Crockett for a brief stint last week.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Knebel features a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball. He could be an impact arm in Detroit’s bullpen before long.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.