The Houston Astros have been busy promoting their young talent around the minor leagues in recent weeks, and yesterday 21 year old Michael Feliz was the most recent player to receive a bump, going from Lancaster to Corpus Christi. While the timing of the call was a bit strange, that’s really not anything new after Mark Appel‘s move last year with his 9.74 ERA in twelve starts with Lancaster in 2014.
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Feliz held a solid 4.41 ERA with Lancaster spanning eight games and five starts. With the California League considered a heavy-hitter’s league, the 4.41 mark is nothing to be down about. The real test for Feliz will be in Double-A with the Hooks and their terrific pitching staff.
When I mentioned that the timing of the call-up was strange, I didn’t mean that Feliz does not deserve a look at the next level by any means. Instead, he is coming off of his worst start since April 10th in which he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. On May 19th Feliz lasted a bit longer, going 4 2/3, but also allowed five runs on five hits and a walk.
One factor to take a look at is the righties’ improved ground ball to fly ball ratio. In his minor-league career, Feliz holds a mark of 1.22 but this season with Lancaster he has a mark of 1.36. The Houston Astros like ground ball pitchers (just look at Dallas Keuchel) and this could be one of the major factors that played in to the promotion. Another could be his strikeout totals, with Feliz striking out 33 batters in 32 2/3 innings, just a tick over one an inning.
Other moves that also occurred on Thursday:
**Catcher Trent Woodward to Corpus from extended spring training; catcher Tyler Heineman to Fresno. Woodward last played in July of 2014 with the Greeneville Astros in rookie ball. He hit .234 with two home runs and 14 driven in to go along with an on-base percentage of .364. Hineman was batting .318 with an OBP of .383 with the Hooks this season, but doesn’t have much in the way of power numbers, collecting five rbi in twenty-two games.
**LHP Mitchell Lambson to Fresno. Lambson appeared in 11 games with Corpus, spanning 17 1/3 innings. He holds a 2-1 record with a 2.60 ERA, but has a solid WHIP of 1.10. He was promoted in correlation to the Feliz call-up.
**LHP Chris Cotton to Corpus from Lancaster; RHP Daniel Minor granted unconditional release. Cotton may be a player to keep an eye on in his time with the Hooks. With the Jethawks he appeared in 13 games, covering 25 2/3 innings while holding a 1.40 ERA. He’s a fly ball pitcher that likes to strike guys out, doing so 37 times against seven walks with Lancaster. Minor held a 3.48 ERA with the Hooks in 10 1/3 innings.