Houston Astros: Bold Predictions Based On Spring Training
Mike Fiers Will Have a Breakout Season in 2016, Becoming the Astros’ #2 Starter and Earning a Spot on the American League All-Star Roster.
While many Astros fans have turned their focus to Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers to anchor the rotation for years to come, Mike Fiers has slowly progressed during his time in Houston. We paid attention to Fiers one night last season in August, and he pitched a No-No against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This season, more production is on the way.
When he began his MLB career in 2012, Fiers was a valuable pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Throughout his time in Milwaukee, he showed flashes of greatness marked by periods of inconsistency and setbacks due to injury. After starting a full season’s worth of games in 2012, Fiers sat out all of 2013 after breaking his pitching arm on a line drive.
Since then, Fiers has put together stretches of solid performances both in Milwaukee and in Houston but has not been able to stretch out this quality starts for a full season. His potential showed through his 2.14 ERA in 2014 with the Brewers and his no-hitter for the Astros in August of 2015, but for some reason, he has not been able to stay consistently in a rotation.
In 2016, Fiers has put up great Spring Training numbers and cemented himself in the Astros starting rotation. He has now had a full offseason and spring training to work with Astros pitching coach Brent Strom, and looks as sharp as ever headed into the regular season. With Lance McCullers now starting the season on the disabled list, it looks as if Fiers could move himself up into the top half of the Astros’ starting rotation to begin the season.
In the Spring Training game that I got to watch live and in person, Fiers pitched three perfect innings against a Cardinals lineup that included Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Tommy Pham, and Matt Adams. In those three innings, Fiers struck out four and possessed a superb command of his pitches. He worked through the Cardinals’ order quickly, wasting no pitches and fooling some of the minor league hitters in the lineup.
If Fiers can maintain his numbers and momentum that he has put together in the spring, he will take advantage of the great opportunity in front of him. With Dallas Keuchel as the ace of the staff, Fiers will be the unexpected pitcher to complete the 1-2 punch for the Astros in 2016. In fact, Fiers will use his impeccable command and looping curveball to propel him to the All-Star Game in San Diego.
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