June 30, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Michael Fiers (64) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
I started writing up a piece about Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Michael Fiers this morning, but I note that Nathaniel Stoltz over at Beyond the Boxscore beat me to it. You absolutely must read Stoltz's piece; it is an excellent dissection of Fiers and goes a long way towards explaining the rookie's success. Go read that article now.
It is interesting to compare Stoltz's observations with the scouting report I wrote about Fiers after seeing him pitch 11 months ago. He was throwing 88-92 in that Triple-A game last August, although when I saw him again this past April, he was at 86-89 and he's been sitting at that velocity this year. Fiers showed a four-pitch mix in the minors, although when I saw him his changeup impressed me more than his curveball did, granted there was nothing wrong with the curve.
I have been paying attention to Fiers since his incredible college performance at Nova Southeastern University back in 2009: he posted a 2.65 ERA with a 145/19 K/BB ratio in 109 innings that spring, with 87 hits allowed. I shadow-drafted him in the 21st round due to his performance, and he may end up being the best player I get out of that class. I wish the Real Twins had him.
Can Fiers sustain his current success? While I don't think Fiers will continue pitching Cy Young Quality baseball forever, his component ratios are very good and don't scream "fluke." I do think he has a good chance to stick around as a successful pitcher for awhile, for the reasons Stoltz outlines: Fiers has a potent combination of "deception, command, movement, and pitch sequencing", and while his margin for error isn't great, I agree with Stoltz's point that "there have been enough Madduxes and Glavines and Moyers and Buehrles and Harens and Weavers and Fierses that we should really know better by now, the same way Jose Bautista and Ben Zobrist taught us that we should never count any hitter out of suddenly becoming a star, or Jose Altuve taught us you don't have to stand even five and a half feet tall to be an All-Star."