Pittsburgh Pirates: Michael Feliz Placed on the Disabled List

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed power bullpen arm Michael Feliz on the disabled list.  The team has recalled Clay Holmes to replace him.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that the team will place right-handed relief pitcher Michael Feliz on the disabled list. Apparently, Feliz is dealing with shoulder inflammation. The team brought up righty pitcher Clay Holmes.  Holmes has been used as a starter in Triple-A and has put together really solid year for Indy. He has pitched to a 3.39 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 66.1 innings pitched.  Also, he spent sometime up with the big league club at the beginning of the year. He pitched two innings and gave up one earned run, and today gave up no runs in two innings of work.

One of the more intriguing arms at the beginning of the season was righty bullpen pitcher Michael Feliz.  The 6’4” pitcher was one of four players to be dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Gerrit Cole trade with Houston.  The thought was that he would be a perfect seventh or eighth inning guy to help setup closer Felipe Vazquez.  The main question surrounding Feliz was about whether he could command his power stuff.  If so, the Bucs might have gotten another steal as they did when they acquired Vazquez (who had similar issues).

Well, Feliz has not found consistency yet in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. The power fastball is there, he has averaged 95.3 miles per hour, which is about where he has sat his whole career. He also is striking out over 10 batters per nine innings pitched, which is exactly what is expected of him. However, he is allowing far to many baserunners thus far this season.  He is allowing 4.41 walks per nine innings as well as giving up 32 hits in 33 innings pitched.

Fly Ball Issue

In general these numbers are not far from what he did in three seasons with the Astros.  He has power stuff and can blow away batters, but for some reason is not producing results.  First is because he is giving up way too many fly balls.  He has a very low groundball percentage of 30 percent.  With him throwing in the mid to upper 90s and batters producing more fly balls, it is going to lead to a lot of home runs. His home run rate this season is 1.38 home runs per nine innings pitched. This has turned into an ERA of 5.51.

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Hopefully this time off will allow Feliz to get healthy and back on track.  He has shown flashes of being a dominant backend of the bullpen type arm.  While he spends time on the shelf he likely will have a chance to work in-depth with the coaching staff and make some tweaks when he comes back.  The most important being is that he keeps the ball down in the zone and starts getting more ground balls than fly balls that turn into home runs.

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