I have to admit, as I was looking at what starting pitchers have been the hottest since the All-Star break, Mike Fiers was not the first name I expected to see. Maybe it’s because he plays for the Milwaukee Brewers, or perhaps I’m not just up on my prospects, but this guy has undoubtedly put together one of the best second halves thus far.
So, let’s get a little background on this guy.
Fiers was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 2009, Fiers went 10-3 for the NSU Sharks posting a 2.65 ERA in 108.2 innings. He struck out 145 batters, while only walking 19. Those are some pretty incredible numbers for a 22nd-round draft pick. He also had three complete games out of his 15 starts. (Side note: J.D. Martinez of the Houston Astros also played on the 2009 Sharks team with Fiers and batted .428 with a .530 OBP.)
After being drafted, Fiers spent 2009 bouncing around three different teams in the Brewers organization before ending up in high-A ball. In total, he threw 40.2 innings as a relief pitcher gathering a 1.33 ERA, while striking out 59 and walking five.
In 2010, his numbers rose a little bit as his final season ERA was 3.53. He had a 3.69 ERA as he moved up to double-A where he was used mostly as a reliever.
He bounced back in 2011 in double-A, starting eight games and appearing in 22 games, while posting a 2.64 ERA in 61.1 innings before being promoted to triple-A where he threw another 64.2 innings — mostly as a starter — and putting up a 1.11 ERA.
He was called up to the majors for the first time in 2011 and threw two scoreless innings as a reliever.
Starting the 2012 season in triple-A and working primarily as a starter, Fiers struggled a bit, giving up 27 earned runs in 55 innings over 10 starts for a 4.42 ERA striking out 49 and walking 18. Overall he struck out 370 batters and only walked 91 in the minors for a strikeout rate of 9.6/9 and a walk rate of 2.4/9.
Despite his struggles in 2012, the Brewers decided it was time to call up the 27-year-old to see if he was ready to start in the majors. I think everyone in the organization will agree it was a great decision.
Since being called up, Fiers has lasted at least six innings in every start but one, and has thrown 10 quality starts, including nine in a row. In those last nine starts, he’s given up seven runs in 60.2 innings for a 1.05 ERA. Also during that span, he struck out 61 and walked 14.
Overall, he’s pitched 80 innings in the majors this year and posted a 1.80 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP. He’s struck out 80 and walked 16. I don’t even need the calculator for this one, that’s a strikeout an inning. Oh, and opponents are batting .218 against him.
I haven’t had the pleasure of watching this guy pitch yet, but I’ll be sure not to miss his next start. I didn’t know who this guy was before, but he’s definitely starting to open up the eyes of opposing teams, hitters and fantasy owners around baseball.