Colorado Rockies 2015 Crystal Ball: Tommy Kahnle

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Sep 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (54) pitches against the New York Mets during the seventh inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Tommy Kahnle.

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Tommy Kahnle jumped from AA to the big leagues in 2014, when the Colorado Rockies selected him in the Rule V Draft from the New York Yankees, and he rewarded the club with 54 games of 4.19/4.02/3.90 ERA/FIP/xFIP baseball while striking out 8.26 batters per nine innings and allowing just 0.92 home runs in that same frame.

Now, he finds himself beginning the season in AAA Albuquerque, buried in the bullpen depth chart but still, one would think, a viable part of the future for the Rockies.

What The Numbers Say

FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.

Steamer is very pessimistic about projecting Kahnle’s 2015 season, right now believing he’ll throw in fewer than ten games with the big league club this summer. That’s surprising considering his year last summer, and while he faded down the stretch at the end of the year, he certainly threw better than expected and showed off a power fastball that struck out a number of big league hitters with consistency.

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  • Best-Case Scenario

    Kahnle, I’d believe, still has a future with the Rockies, and as the bullpen gets taxed thanks to starters only lasting five-ish innings every night, the club will soon need relief help at the big league level. Enter: Kahnle.

    Despite taking two losses in relief early in Albuquerque’s season, Kahnle is striking gout a lot of hitters, and walking very few, and if he continues to throw the ball relatively decently in Albuquerque, there’s no reason to believe we wouldn’t see him up in the big leagues and working as a set-up man later this season. Remember, he hadn’t thrown an inning above AA before last season; despite spending the entire year in the big leagues in 2014, a little seasoning in AAA isn’t the end of the world.

    Worst-Case Scenario

    Well, Kahnle has walked a lot of hitters in his minor league career, and any situation where he falls off with command in AAA, and then gets buried down the depth chart any more than he already finds himself, would probably be a worst-case scenario.

    Nevertheless, I can’t imagine the Rockies giving up on Kahnle so quickly after they spent the entire year last summer holding him in the big leagues to retain his rights after the Rule V Draft, and I have to believe that either later this year, or next year, he will be a big factor in the Rockies’ bullpen.

    Crystal Ball

    Kahnle may not be a future closer, but there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be a future set-up man. This season represents his first experience in AAA across his entire career, so let’s let him develop in the minors – while not wasting his options – so that later this season, or next summer, he can come up to Denver once and for all when he’s ready to stick in the bullpen for good.

    It may not go very far this year for him, but get ready for lots of Tommy Kahnle in the future for the Rockies.

    Give us your predictions!

    Comment below, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @RoxPileFS and let us know. You can also use the hashtag #RoxCrystalBall.

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