#1: Michael Feliz
Sep 7, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Michael Feliz (68) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Last season Feliz was almost not protected in the Rule V draft by the Houston Astros, but he was added before the deadline after so many experts said he would be the first player taken. Feliz enjoyed the benefits of being on the 40-man roster as he learned the route from Corpus to Houston with his frequent stints with the Astros in 2015. With the trade of Velasquez, Feliz could be in the mix for the fifth starter in this Astros’ rotation.
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Feliz, despite being in the bullpen with the Astros in 2015, pitched his last season in Lancaster and Corpus Christi out of the rotation and bullpen. Feliz did not disappoint in either role in 2015. The Astros used the tandem starter system where Feliz could be the second guy going four innings out of the bullpen.
In the minors, Feliz went 7-4/ 2.83 ERA/ 103 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings. With the Astros, he showed some tendency to walk hitters and give up deep blasts. He had a 7.88 ERA in five innings, so it’s a small sample size, not enough to prove that he’s a bust.
Coming into the 2016 season, Feliz could use some time in Triple-A to refine his stuff, but he could win a job out of spring training in the bullpen or rotation. According, the MLB Pipeline, he is the Astros top pitching prospect with the departure of Mark Appel. All these guys should have success with the Astros, but will there be open roster spots for them?
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**
**Top five list from MLB Pipeline**