TOM KOEHLER, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 29, 1986
Drafted: 18th Round, 538th overall pick, 2008 (Marlins)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: Stony Brook University
Agent: Pro Agents, Inc.
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Koehler is a late-round draft pick who made good in the majors as a pitch-to-contact starter. He relies on the standard four-pitch mix, with a fastball that averaged around 94 mph early in his major league career, but closer to 93 since 2015. His most effective pitches have been his slider and curve. He’s had problems with walks at times, possibly due to trying to be too fine. Koehler is not a groundball pitcher and has had some gopher ball problems. In the majors he’s had almost no platoon split at all. He had three-plus solid years in the Marlins’ rotation, but ran into significant problems in 2017. He spent the season’s last six weeks with Toronto, pitching in relief and getting good results. He missed all of 2018 due to shoulder surgery. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2019, with a team option for 2020.
Koehler pitched mostly as a starter in the New York-Penn League. Considering that it’s a pitchers league, he put up just decent numbers, including a somewhat high walk rate. It helped that he allowed no longballs.
Koehler pitched well in 18 starts in low A and another six in high A.
The Marlins moved Koehler up to AA and he had an outstanding season, with improved walk and K rates, and an opponents average of .241. Baseball America rated him the Marlins’ 13th best prospect after the season.
In AAA, Koehler got off to a strong start, but had a very bad stretch beginning in late May, with an ERA of 7.56 over a dozen starts. He did pitch better over his last seven starts. A lot of the trouble was walks, although he also allowed 18 gopher balls. BA still rated him the Marlins’ 26th best prospect and the team added him to their 40-man roster after the season.
Koehler returned to AAA and pitched a little better, with markedly better walk and K rates. He got a September callup and got into eight games, including one start.
The Marlins sent Koehler back to AAA for three starts, then called him up. Except for one game back in AAA, he stayed with the Marlins, pitching out of their rotation after relieving in his first six outings. He pitched respectably with Miami, although with a very low K rate.
Koehler spent the season in the Miami rotation, making 32 starts. He improved his K rate and held opponents to a solid 248/320/371 line. He generally kept the ball in the park, allowing 16 gopher balls.
Koehler made 31 starts, but didn’t have quite as good a year. All his numbers got a little weaker, including his walk and K rates, his opponents average of .255, and his HR rate, which went from one every 12 innings the previous year to one every eight and a half.
In a career-high 33 starts, Koehler saw all his numbers get a little weaker, except for an improved K rate. Opponents this time managed a line of 261/344/421 and his average innings per start dropped from six to less than five and a half.
Koehler had a rough season. In mid-May, with his ERA sitting at 7.04, the Marlins optioned him to AAA, only to have the option nullified due to shoulder bursitis. He returned to the majors at the beginning of July and gave up 19 earned runs in just 17.1 IP over four starts, at which point the Marlins optioned him to AAA. Miami sent him to Toronto in mid-August and the Blue Jays employed him in relief, except for one start. He pitched much better, including a K rate of better than one per inning, and a small increase in fastball velocity. The Jays nevertheless non-tendered him after the season.
The Dodgers signed Koehler to a one-year deal with the notion of using him out of the bullpen, apparently due to his late season success with the Jays. The plan never got underway, as Koehler went out with a shoulder strain early in spring training. After a setback in his rehab, he had shoulder surgery in July.
Koehler made four rehab appearances in August, but he suffered a setback in mid-month and was shut down for the season.
The Pirates’ plan was to see how Koehler progressed and, if they were satisfied, exercise his option and consider him for their 2020 bullpen. Obviously, that plan didn’t work. The option called for a major league contract and the Pirates didn’t exercise it, but Koehler remains in the organization, according to the MLB web site. It’s likely the Pirates re-signed him to a minor league deal for 2020.
2019: Minor league salary
2020: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $1,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 9/5/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019 (if option declined)
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/11 (later removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2012, 2013, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 5.152
|June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 18th round, 538th overall pick; signed on June 11.
November 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Miami Marlins.
August 19, 2017: Traded by the Miami Marlins with cash to the Toronto Blue Jays for Osman Gutierrez.
December 1, 2017: Non-tendered by the Toronto Blue Jays.
December 20, 2017: Signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
November 20, 2018: Released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
February 6, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.