Kent Emanuel

Born: June 4, 1992
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 225
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 3rd Round, 74th Overall, 2013 (Astros)
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
College: University of North Carolina
Agent: N/A


The Pirates drafted Emanuel out of high school, but he didn’t sign and went to North Carolina.  Houston drafted him in the third round in 2013.  He profiled as a fifth starter, as despite a big build he lacked swing-and-miss stuff.  He threw in the upper-80s at the time, with a solid slider and change.  He was throwing in the low-90s in the majors, mostly as a reliever, in 2021, still with the slider and change.  Emanuel has missed significant periods of time due to injuries and a PED suspension.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2023.

R:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

In rookie ball, Emanuel made four starts, all brief ones.  Baseball America ranked him 24th in the Astros’ system after the season.

A:  0-2-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 22.0 IP, 1.6 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
A+:  9-5-2, 4.59 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 102.0 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 6.7 K/9

Emanuel pitched briefly in low A, then moved up to the California League.  His ERA there was almost exactly league average, but he improved as the season went along; his ERA in August and September was 3.47.  BA ranked him 26th in the system.

AA:  1-1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 3.1 BB/9, 3.1 K/9

Emanuel’s move to AA never got going, as an elbow injury resulted in Tommy John surgery in June.

AA:  6-4-1, 5.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 82.2 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 6.3 K/9

Emanual returned in late May and pitched well initially.  He ran into a very bad stretch in July and August, though, posting an ERA of 6.89.

AA:  5-5-0, 4.60 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 74.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 7.6 K/9
AAA:  1-2-1, 7.71 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, 42.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 6.0 K/9

The Astros sent Emanuel back to AA to open the season and he stayed there until mid-July.  He was very hittable, with opponents batting .318 against him.  He moved up to AAA for eight starts and one relief appearance, and he got hammered there.

AAA:  5-4-1, 5.59 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 83.2 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

The Astros employed Emanuel as a swing man in AAA; he made 31 appearances, ten of them starts.  He continued to get hit around, with opponents batting 308/355/455 against him.

AAA:  8-2-1, 3.90 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 101.2 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Emanuel spent another season in AAA, again serving as a swing man.  He made seven starts and 21 relief appearances, and pitched considerably better than the year before.  He was much more effective as a starter, with opponents putting up a .558 OPS against him, as opposed to .770 in relief.  Houston added him to the 40-man roster after the season.


Emanuel never appeared during the pandemic season as he was suspended in August for 80 games, later reduced to 60, for violation of MLB’s drug policy.

MLB:  1-0-0, 2.55 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 6.6 K/9

Houston activated Emanuel from the restricted list in late April and brought him to the majors.  He started his first game and got within one out of a complete game, allowing just two runs.  After that he pitched strictly in relief, but he suffered an elbow injury in late May.  He had UCL surgery but did not have another Tommy John procedure.  The Phillies claimed him off waivers from the Astros after the season.

A:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 6.0 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
AA:  0-1-0, 13.50 ERA, 3.38 WHIP, 2.2 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
AAA:  2-2-0, 2.37 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 49.1 IP, 1.1 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Emanuel missed the first half of the season with a left elbow impingement, then the last several weeks with a shoulder strain.  When he was able to pitch, he mostly did so in AAA and did well.  The Phillies outrighted him after the season and he opted for free agency.

It’s not clear whether the Pirates see Emanuel as a potential reliever or as starting depth, or both.  He’ll turn 31 in mid-season 2023.

2023: Minor League Contract ($735,000 if in majors)
Signing Bonus: $747,700
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: 4/24/2021
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/4/2019 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED:  2021, 2022)
MLB Service Time: 1.107
June 9, 2010: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round, 567th overall pick.
June 7, 2013:
Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 3rd round, 74th overall pick; signed on July 4.
November 4, 2019: Contract purchased by the Houston Astros.
November 19, 2021: Claimed off waivers from the Houston Astros by the Philadelphia Phillies.
November 9, 2022: Outrighted to AAA by the Philadelphia Phillies; refused assignment and became a free agent on November 11.
February 10, 2023: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.