The Forgotten Arm: Michael Kohn


With all of the talk surrounding the Angels and their need for bullpen help, it seems like one arm has been forgotten about. The arm that belongs to Michael Kohn. June 22, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Michael Kohn (58) delivers a pitch in the tenth inning against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. The Angels defeated the Marlins in extra innings 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Kohn came on in a big way in 2010, even if he did have an atrocious walk rate of 6.8/9 in his 21.1 innings of work. He limited damage though, holding opposing hitter to a .226/.351/.228 slash line with runners in scoring position. And regardless of my hate for relievers who have a WHIP above 1.200 (his was 1.547 in 2010), the end result is to keep runners from scoring. And Kohn’s ERA that year was 2.11. The following season was not so pretty. His WHIP rose to 1.865 and the high walk rate caught up with him as he yielded an ERA of 7.30. Albeit in only 12.1 innings, but still, yikes.

Of course, as 2012 rolled around, Kohn would eventually go under the knife for Tommy John Surgery making it likely that he pitched through 2011 with some sort of pain. And judging by the picture above and his arm angle, him having to have TJS wasn’t all that surprising. But that’s another discussion for another day. What is important to the discussion is how Kohn coming back from injury can be a big lift to our arson squad bullpen.

Michael’s Major League sample size is quite small, so it’s not exactly fair to hold those numbers against him. I can, and I have, but that doesn’t make it fair. His Minor League numbers tell a quite different story about him. One of dominance. One of less runners on base. One of……this isn’t a movie intro. So i’ll just get to it.

Those are some pretty sexy numbers. The walk rate is tick high, but a 13.2 K/9, yes please. By comparison Jordan Walden, our fireballing former closer turned set up man turned mop up so he can get his head screwed on right reliever had a career minor league WHIP of 1.273. Nick Maronde's, 1.041. Walden has gotten progressively less reliable since his initial callup. While Maronde, well, he won't answer my calls or accept my candygrams.

July 19, 2011; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Michael Kohn (58) pitches during the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Neither one of them could touch Kohn's K/9 though. And unless your name is Scott Downs, being able to strike guys out is muy importante.

So, what we have here, is a high strikeout guy who's stingy with the hits, even stingier with home runs, but walks guys at a meh rate with a mid 90's fastball and a very good slider. Why are we not talking about him more? This doesn't mean that I am suggesting that he will be our bullpen's savior in 2013. But, I am saying that his power arm being brought in for the middle innings could be huge step toward upgrading our bullpen. And cheaply at that.