Welcome back to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, though with two articles earlier this week already I hope you haven’t been away long. There’s another article scheduled yet this week after today’s so please continue to read along. I sincerely appreciate it.
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Anyway, let’s get to the reason that you’re here.
April 6th less February 2nd equals sixty-four.
If the end of 2011 is any indication, the man who will sport number 64 on his back when he heads to the field for his first official workout of Spring Training will be Michael Fiers.
Michael Bruce Fiers (26 – born June 15, 1985) is a right-handed pitcher listed at 6’3” and 200 lbs and was originally drafted by Milwaukee in the 22nd round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He will join his fellow pitchers (and the catchers) in Maryvale on February 18th for the start of big league Spring Training.
It will be another chance to impress the Major League coaching staff and the organization’s front office that have already showed enough faith in Fiers to call him up last September and pitch him in a pair of games.
Fiers pitched two scoreless innings in those games, allowing two hits, striking out two batters, and walking three others.
You can definitely say that Fiers was justly rewarded with the September call-up after a season in the minors which saw him amass the following statistical line between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville:
34 G (18 starts), 13-3 record, 126.0 IP, 1.86 ERA, 83 H, 39 R, 26 ER, 11 HR, 36 BB, 132 K
Fiers also held opponents to the .182 batting average in 2011.
For the record, it was at the higher level that Fiers pitched better. In Triple-A Fiers put together an 8-0 record in 12 games (10 starts) including a complete game, shut out. His Nashville ERA was 1.11 and he held opponents to a .174 average. So again, to say he earned his call up would be very accurate.
A cup of coffee is nice and undoubtedly feels amazing for professional ballplayer, but it isn’t a final goal. It goes without saying but I’ll type it anyway:
Michael Fiers wants to stick.
To that end he pitched some winter ball this off-season in the Venezuela Winter League for the Caracas Lions. Or, en español… Leones del Caracas en la Liga Venezuela Béisbol Profesionál.
There he started five of the six games in which he appeared, worked to a 3-2 record, struck out 18, walked 10, and surrendered seven earned runs on 20 hits over 28.1 innings pitched, good for a 2.22 ERA, while holding opposing hitters to a .196 batting average.
I think all can agree that based on those numbers, Fiers most definitely appears ready to contribute at the Major League level.
Aiding him in that effort is his four-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball, slider, curve, and change up. The fastball sits between 88-92 (his two strikeouts in the big leagues last year were recorded on 89 MPH fastballs, for what it’s worth) and has movement. His slider is thrown in the low 80s and is average at best. The curve is a slow pitch that clocks in the mid-70s. His best secondary pitch is his changeup. It’s around in the mid-to-upper 70s and has a good tail.
If I had to project where Fiers begins 2012, it will be in Nashville’s rotation. Fiers, along with Wily Peralta (series profile coming on Monday, February 6), looks to be one of the first options at Ron Roenicke’s disposal should he need a forecasted fill-in for the big league rotation.
In the meantime Nashville fans hope to enjoy continued success from the right-hander. Rest assured that Brewers Assistant General Manager Gord Ash and those involved in the development of the organization’s prospects will be keeping a keen eye focused on Fiers.