I’m going to take a wild guess here. If you’re still in contention in your fantasy league and looking for one last diamond in the rough to help you out for the final stretch of games, you’ll be watching tonight’s Toronto Blue Jays at Milwaukee Brewers game pretty close. This will be the third start for Mike Fiers in the absence of Matt Garza and in case you haven’t noticed, the first two were pretty good.
Mike Fiers' Last 2 Starts
|vs. LA Dodgers||8||3||1||1||5||W||1.13||0.50|
|at Chicago Cubs||6||3||1||0||14||W||0.00||0.67|
That’s dealing, folks. Sure, you can point out that the Cubs offense is promising, but still very raw, or that the Dodgers may be a good team, but the offense is sometimes very frustrating and that Hanley Ramirez was out. That’s all true, but Fiers’ dominance in those two outings is a little tough to overlook.
So now to answer the original question. What does Fiers’ past tell us about his potential value for the remainder of the season? Well, at 29, Fiers only has 173 innings in the majors, which hints that a regression may be coming. But what do the actual numbers tell us?
Mike Fiers Career Stats
The one negative that jumps out with those numbers is that he’s pitched much better at the Minor League level than the Majors. Now, he’s been far from a bum in the show, but also far removed from what we saw against the Dodgers and Cubs.
Having said that, the numbers do also show some serious positives.
Standing alone, the BB/9 and K.9 rates are well above average, and even that’s putting it pretty conservatively. When you combine nearly 10 strikeouts per nine with just over two walks per nine, it’s just great pitching, regardless of what level it’s happened at. If you’re looking for positives, the SO/BB ratio of 4.19 is a great place to start. That should get you a great WHIP and plenty of strikeouts, and those combined will generally bring a solid ERA.
The biggest question surrounding Mike Fiers comes from the fact that he’s only currently in the rotation because of an injury. It’s still a little unclear as to when we’ll see Garza again, but his injury doesn’t appear to be season threatening. So, what happens to Fiers’ spot on the rotation when Garza gets back?
I’m not in the mind of Ron Roenicke or anyone in the Brewers organization, but I can at least make a pretty educated guess and say this. If Fiers continues to pitch anywhere near this well for Milwaukee — a team that’s in a playoff race, mind you — he’ll have some spot in the rotation. Maybe one of the other guys will get moved to the bullpen, but there’s no way a contender can justify limiting someone who’s been pitching that well.
So what’s the recommendation? Well, we’ll have to cross the 2015 bridge when we get to it, but looking at his past and the role he’s been on, I don’t see a great reason to hold off on picking Fiers up. The end of the season frequently brings guys who unexpectedly finish very strong and there’s no reason to think that Fiers can’t be one of those guys this year.
I wouldn’t give more than 1-2 starts worth of slack, but his past indicates that Mike Fiers is a guy who can keep this hot streak going for a few more starts, which is really all that 2014 is.