Quick Hits: Fiers, MLB Draft, Nelson | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

On Tuesday evening, right-hander Michael Fiers made his major league debut in the starting rotation for the Milwaukee Brewers and twirled a beauty, allowing only five hits and one run over seven stellar innings. He only needed 89 pitches to span the seven frames and was only lifted because the Brewers had a one-run lead heading into the eighth inning. That scenario is designed for the bullpen duo of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford.

Over at FanGraphs this morning, I discussed how Michael Fiers relied heavily on his fastball and what makes his fastball unique, especially given it’s pedestrian velocity:

The interesting aspect about Fiers throwing his fastball so often lies in the fact that it does not overwhelm opposing hitters with plus velocity. He averaged 88 MPH with his fastball on Tuesday, which would be the slowest average fastball velocity off the eight pitchers listed above. In fact, of those pitchers, Joe Saunders is the only other pitcher who has an average fastball velocity under 90 MPH.

Further evidence that his fastball does not overwhelm hitters can be seen by the fact that Fiers only generated two swings-and-misses on the pitch all night. Its effectiveness relies on location and missing the barrel of the bat. He generates an extreme vertical break on his fastball, causing the pitch to “rise,” or perhaps more accurately, not drop as much as expected due to gravity. Fiers’ fastball had an average 12.1 vertical break last night. Only three qualifying starters have greater vertical break on their fastball.

Check out the entire article for the remainder of the information.


Due to the significant success the Brewers’ enjoyed last season, the organization will not select their first amateur player until the 27th pick of the first round in next month’s MLB Draft. Normally, picking that far down the draft board breeds uncertainty in terms of projecting which player may be selected. Too much can happen. Add the fact that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement takes effect this year, and that only increases the volatility of the first round.

With that said, it appears the Brewers have their eye on a very specific prep bat. ESPN’s Keith Law wrote on Tuesday that he projects the Brewers to select catcher Clint Coulter out of Union High School in Washington. What makes this projection significant is not the pick itself, but the information incapsulated in the accompanying blurb. Law writes:

This pick is seen by the industry as pretty much a lock at this point.

Rumors have floated about this month that the Brewers would look toward “signability” guys early in the draft, with expectations of making over-slot offers later in the draft. This Coulter news fits that mold perfectly, as Coulter is largely seen as a supplemental first-round or second-round talent. He possesses a big, strong body and a powerful bat, but concerns about his eventual defensive home has caused him to slip a bit.

Sounds like the Brewers love his bat. Though, as happens almost every year in the draft, nothing can be seen as a lock outside the first pick or two. Too much can happen. And the rumors connecting Milwaukee and right-hander Lucas Giolito simply will not go away, although that is probably a long shot (at best).


Right-hander Jimmy Nelson continues to be one of the few true bright spots down on the farm this spring. He allowed only one run in six innings for Brevard County last night, surrendering three hits and striking out five. His velocity has hovered around 93-95 MPH this spring, and some have reported his fastball hitting 96-97 MPH at times. He is a definite Top 10 prospect at this point in the Brewers’ system, and at this point, I would not hesitate to jump him into my Top 5.

Do not be surprised when Nelson gets the call to Double-A Huntsville in the next few weeks, as the first half of the minor league seasons begin to come to an end.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Jay says: May 30, 2012

    If they can get Giolito at 28 and Coulter will sign at a discount to help get Giolito signed-I like it!

    Otherwise, wait until 38 to get Coulter! IMO

  2. Greg says: May 30, 2012

    To look for signability picks early in the draft doesn’t appeal to me at all. The better talent is found earlier in the draft rather than later. Quality > quantity. Chances are that you are more likely to find a solid major leaguer in the earlier part of the draft rather than in the later part of the draft.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 30, 2012

      The thing is, with the new rules everyone is still trying to get a feel for how talent is going to sort itself out. There is a very real chance that due to the bonus pools, that lots of relatively high upside kids with scholarship offers will fall down the board because most teams simply don’t have the money available to sign them. If the Brewers can find ways to sign some guys at the top cheaply, they could very well have their pick of guys who have some real upside in rounds 2,3,4 and build up some depth (especially positionally) for their system.

      • Greg says: May 30, 2012

        I guess Coulter is an alright pick, but what I’m afraid of is that there may be some really good players like Stryker Trahan, Zach Eflin, Lucas Sims, etc. be around by the time the Brewers draft and they might pass on them to save money to pay for guys later in the draft who aren’t as talented. It’s fine to have one signability pick, but what I’m afraid of is that the Brewers will use ALL of their first/supplemental round picks for signability picks.

        • Ryan Topp says: May 30, 2012

          I get that, but I really don’t think it’s likely to happen. I think the reason that we’re hearing them connected to these “signability” guys is that they’re the ones they’re really talking to about money and specifics. I think strategically, it makes sense with multiple picks and this asinine pool system that a team would seek out some “sure things.” That way, they have the flexibility to go after some guys who may fall in their lap whose bonus demands might be a bit murkier to them and the rest of the industry.

          So from that perspective, it makes sense that we’re really only hearing about the guys who may come more cheaply. They’re probably not talking as much to the guys who *might* fall to them as the one’s they have more expectation of being there. Just my two cents.


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