While Tommy Kahnle was once a force to be reckoned with in the Yankees bullpen in 2017, he looks ready to get back to form this season.
At the 2017 trade deadline, the Yankees made several moves to make the playoff push. One of those moves brought back a fireballing reliever named Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle had 60 strikeouts in just 36 innings for the White Sox and performed well down the stretch for the Yankees. In 2018, however, Tommy Kahnle took a giant step backward. He was often injured, lost velocity, and ended up with a final line of 6.56 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in only 23.1 innings pitched.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees placed RHP Tommy Kahnle on the 10-day DL (retroactive to 4/16) with right shoulder tendonitis and recalled RHP Luis Cessa from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 17, 2018
Kahnle’s Velocity is Back
In 2017 Kahnle’s fastball velocity averaged 98.1 mph, his changeup 90.7 mph, and his slider 86.5 mph. In 2018, those numbers dropped to 95.5, 88.8, and 83.5 mph respectively.
95,97,96,96(k),84,96,89(k),96,90,89,96,89,95(k) for kahnle tonight.
— Jack Feigenbaum (@jack_feigenbaum) March 2, 2019
In his first appearance this spring training, Kahnle struck out the side. His fastball hit 97, changeup 90, and slider 84 mph. Keep in mind this is his first appearance of spring training and as he loosens up his velocity should improve. The Yankees are noticing improvement this offseason as well.
Kahnle believes that his offseason training plan will lead to better results in 2019. Speaking to NJ.com, Kahnle revealed that he lost almost 30 pounds this offseason in an effort to be more healthy. He’s at his lowest weight in 5 years, yet still a robust 229 lbs (he’s 6′ 1″).
This offseason Tommy Kahnle kicked his Red Bull habit. He says he was drinking up to five Red Bull's a day for the last five or six years (plus two coffees). Now it's one coffee a day and that's all.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 21, 2019
Kahnle also stopped drinking caffeine like a … well, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone having that much caffeine. It’s amazing Kahnle was able to function at such an elite level while seemingly abusing his body for years.
How is Tommy Kahnle still alive? https://t.co/TG4pGDkTfA
— Yankees Stan (@YankeesStan) February 22, 2019
If the changes he’s made do allow Kahnle to return to 2017 levels, the Yankees bullpen (which was the best in 2018), could be even better in 2019. We’ll keep an eye on his velocity levels throughout spring training.