If Doug Fister Falters to Start the Season, Michael Feliz Should Be the Next Pitcher Up for the Astros.
It’s no secret that Doug Fister struggled for the Washington Nationals in 2015. While struggling with injuries, Fister failed to find his rhythm and had a tough time stringing together some quality starts. He paid his price in free agency, leading Astros fans to believe that they signed one of the best bargains in the 2015-16 MLB offseason.
I’m the one who wrote the linked article, so you could say that I’m hedging my bet in this next piece. Although I believe that Fister will prove to be a productive signing for Jeff Luhnow, Astros fans always have to be prepared for the other scenario.
Let’s say that Fister, for whatever reason, can not find his earlier form and continues his 2015 struggles in Houston. It’s June 1, the Astros are in a tight division race, and Scott Feldman is also having trouble on the mound. Who is AJ Hinch going to call…? That’s right, and it’s Michael Feliz.
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Feliz probably will be left off the Astros’ opening day roster, but if he continues to pitch the way he has been pitching so far in Spring Training, his name will definitely be considered for a position in the starting rotation. Through 10.0 Innings Pitched, Feliz has a 1-0 record with a 0.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and only ten hits allowed compared to eight strikeouts.
In 2015, Feliz spent some time in Lancaster and Corpus Christi, while mixing in a few outings with the Astros. Feliz had a 2.17 ERA and a 6-3 record with the Hooks, striking out 70 while allowing only 52 hits at the AA level. In his appearances with the Astros, Feliz went through some rough outings while adjusting to the major league level. He made the majority of his Astros appearances in September and October, during the September call-ups period.
His strong performance in Spring Training seems to suggest that he has overcome his rough MLB outings in late 2015, so Astros fans should be confident in Feliz headed into the 2016 campaign. I think that Feliz will probably start the season in Fresno as a starting pitcher. Whether or not Feliz moves to the bullpen in the MLB will have to do with how Scott Feldman, Lance McCullers, and Doug Fister perform to begin the season and how Jeff Luhnow projects Feliz’s role within the club.
I hope that this article truly is not Plan A for Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch, as I believe that Doug Fister is perfectly capable of effectively rounding out the back end of the Astros’ rotation. But, if something happens, we all should be confident that Feliz is waiting for his turn down in the minor leagues.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**