Astros: Who has 2017 Starting Rotation Job Security?

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Aug 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) waves to the crowd after pitching a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Dodgers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) waves to the crowd after pitching a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Dodgers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mike Fiers

Aug 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) looks down after giving up back to back home runs in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) looks down after giving up back to back home runs in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

When Fiers came to the Astros as a part of the infamous Carlos Gomez deal, he had a solid reputation as a starting pitcher in the National League. In his 71 career appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers, he had a 3.66 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP.

Fiers’ stats were inflated after his switch to the American League in 2015.

On paper, his numbers were solid. In 10 appearances with the Astros, Fiers had a 2-1 record with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. However, when you look closer, Fiers gradually became more hittable when he got to the American League. Even though his average hits per nine innings decreased to 6.5 in those ten outings, the fly balls he was used to giving up became to leave the yard with more regularity. In 62.1 innings, he gave up ten home runs and 11.3% of his fly balls went yard.

Will the real Fiers please stand up?

Those numbers came down to earth in 2016. In 24 appearances this year, Fiers has a 4.48 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP and a .276 batting average against. He also has given up 1.6 home runs per nine innings and has given up two or more home runs in one-fourth of his appearances.

This really has to do with the lack of velocity on his pitches. Fiers averages a fastball at 89.5 miles per hour. He throws this fastball 44.3% of the time. As a fly ball pitcher, that is not a good combination.

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Also, opposing hitters, especially right-handed, have been taking advantage of the short porch in left field against Fiers. With 47.2% of batted ball being pulled against Fiers, right-handed hitters have hit 14 home runs in 75.1 innings of work against him. Also, his WHIP raises 22 points against right-handers.

With those numbers and with a bunch of young guys behind him to take his spot, Fiers may not be in the starting rotation much longer unless he pulls something miraculous in the next month and a half. Also, without movement on a fastball that tops out in the low nineties, his fastball does not become less hittable in the bullpen.

Coming into arbitration as a 31-year-old soft-tossing right-hander, Fiers may not and perhaps should not be on the Astros roster after the 2016 season.

Next: Collin McHugh

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