by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know how impressive Mike Fiers and Tsyushi Wada have been since reaching the Majors recently, but are they for real? Can we count on them for the remainder of 2014? What about 2015 and beyond? Let’s take a look:
Mike Fiers – Milwaukee Brewers
Needless to say Fiers has made a tremendous splash since returning to the Brewers, making five starts in August and producing a 1.80 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. Obviously no one expects him to be able to replicate those types of numbers, but what can we expect moving forward?
He’s done a great job generating strikeouts (10.54 K/9) and avoiding walks (1.54 BB/9). Before we simply dub those marks as unmaintainable, in 44 appearances (42 starts) at Triple-A he owns a 9.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Obviously he could take a bit of a step backwards, but there’s an awful lot to like in the numbers.
The question is going to be if he can continue to keep the ball in the ballpark, given a 40.5% groundball rate in the minors since 2011 and 39.2% as a starter in the Majors this season. Pitching in Milwaukee, that could eventually pose a problem.
It’s something to watch, but obviously the strikeouts alone keeps him as a viable option in all formats. The strikeouts and control also help feed his potential long-term appeal, as long as the Brewers can find a spot for him in the rotation. He’s not this good, but he is going to be a viable option as long as he’s starting.
Tsyushi Wada – Chicago Cubs
Remember when he was highly touted upon signing with the Orioles? It’s hard, after he quickly disappeared due to Tommy John surgery. He’s clearly burst back onto the scene with the Cubs and has been on fire with a 2.79 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in nine starts.
While he has shown control (2.44 BB/9), the strikeouts are only average (7.66 K/9) with a fastball averaging 89.2 mph and a below average 9.0% SwStr% (league average is 9.4%). Given the fastball it makes sense that he was boasting a higher strikeout rate at Triple-A this season (9.50 K/9), as he faced less experienced hitters. In the Majors, he wasn’t going to maintain it.
He also doesn’t feature an impressive groundball rate (35.6%) and has been hit relatively hard (22.6%). The fact that his overall numbers are good stem strictly from luck, with a .252 BABIP and 80.3% strand rate. The fact is he may not be able to maintain these numbers for the remainder of 2014, let alone 2015 and beyond.
I’d use him while he’s hot, but don’t anticipate him being a very good option next season.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central