Bullpen Suits Matt Koch Just Fine

PHOENIX—As the Diamondbacks are forced to contemplate a total rebuild of their bullpen next season, righthander Matt Koch stands out as a possible source of help.

Though Koch spent this season as a starter in the upper levels of the system, big league pitching coach Mike Butcher mentioned him as someone they could envision as a reliever next year.

For his part, Koch says he’s all for it.

“I’m here to help,” said Koch, a third-round pick of the Mets in 2012 out of Louisville. “Any way I can help, I’m willing to do it. I like starting and I like the bullpen, too. It’s whatever they need me to do.”

The D-backs acquired Koch last year from the Mets along with righthander Miller Diaz for reliever Addison Reed. He recorded a 4.08 ERA in 121.1 innings across Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno this season. He would have thrown more if he hadn’t run into blister problems in the first half.

“(The season) started really well and then I had a blister that kept me out for a little over a month,” said Koch, 25. “Then two starts in, it happened again, and I missed a couple of more starts. It’s an annoying injury, but it’s something pitchers deal with.”

Koch finished strong, posting a 3.09 ERA in seven starts at Reno to earn a September callup. He threw a scoreless inning in relief in his major league debut, walking the first two batters he faced before managing to escape. He ultimately made seven appearances for Arizona in September and struck out 10 in 18 innings, while showcasing a 96 mph fastball.

“He’s got the fastball, command of the fastball, a little cutter-slider and a feel for a changeup,” Butcher said. “He has four pitches, but hopefully you take the three best pitches and see what he does out of the bullpen.”


Reliever Jimmie Sherfy was a candidate for a promotion but struggled to the finish line with Reno, allowing runs in seven of his final 13 appearances. The rigthander finished the year with a 2.77 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 55.1 innings.

After nearly 1,000 career minor league games, Reno first baseman Kyle Jensen was called to the big leagues in September after hitting .289/.350/.546 with a Pacific Coast League-leading 30 home runs and 120 RBIs. He homered off the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner in his fourth career plate appearance.

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