Spring Training 2018 is now slightly over a week away for the Pittsburgh Pirates
In just 8 days, the Pittsburgh Pirates will start Spring Training 2018. Just 8 more days until the Pirates send their pitchers and catchers to the fields of Pirate City in Bradenton for their first workout of the spring.
8 is the number of home runs that new Pirate reliever Michael Feliz allowed with the Houston Astros in 2017. During the 2018 season, Feliz will be relied upon to be a key member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen.
The flamethrowing Michael Feliz tossed 48 innings for the Astros in 2017. Feliz allowed the aforementioned 8 home runs and 53 hits in those 48 innings pitched. However, he struggled with control as he threw 7 wild pitches and averaged 4.13 BB/9.
Michael Feliz was a strikeout machine in 2017. He struck out 70 batters in his 48 innings pitched (13.13 K/9) which helped to negate some of his control issues. He was also burnt by an unsustainably high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .381.
The 5.38 ERA that Michael Feliz owned in 2017 was not indicative of how he pitched. His 3.78 FIP indicates he pitched much better than his ERA, while his 3.58 xFIP suggests that if he pitches the way he did in 2017 again in 2018 his ERA should drop by nearly two full runs.
The 24-year-old Michael Feliz comes with five years of team control. Starting in 2018, he will be looked upon to be a big part of the Pirate bullpen along with Felipe Rivero, George Kontos, and Dovydas Neverauskas.
With his power fastball and plus slider, Michael Feliz has the tools needed to be a shutdown reliever that Clint Hurdle and the Pirates can count on in high leverage situations for years to come. It will be up to Feliz and pitching coach Ray Searage to maximize Feliz’s talents and abilities.
In 8 days when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitchers and catchers have their first workout of the spring, Feliz will begin his Pirate career on the fields of Pirate City.