I’ve often wondered what it would be like to actually dominate a baseball league like a Ryan Braun or a Prince Fielder. What would it be like to walk up to the plate with supreme confidence that you would succeed? What would it be like to step on the mound and have the utmost confidence in the placement and quality of your pitches like Roy Halladay?
The closest I’ve ever came to that was one summer of dominance in an intramural softball league. If that doesn’t generate a hearty roll of the eyes from you, the reader, well, I don’t know what will.
Michael Fiers may never be able to experience that kind of dominance at the Major League level, but over the past two months, he’s experienced just that at Triple-A Nashville. Fiers took the hill 10 times down the stretch for the Sounds. In 62.1 innings, Fiers allowed all of 13 runs, and only eight of those 13 were earned. That’s a 1.11 ERA, and that’s dominance.
Fiers struck out 65 batters while only walking 20 and gave up only four home runs. He only gave up 37 hits — that’s nearly one every two innings. Again, dominance.
Of course, as it is with small samples of really good baseball, it’s never really that simple. Fiers’s peripherals were good, but not fantastically dominant as his basic numbers suggest. His 3.03 FIP is good, of course — particularly in the Pacific Coast League where teams routinely score six runs per game — but not nearly the best on the team. That honor belongs to Wily Peralta, who struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings in his five starts and racked up a 1.78 FIP.
But let’s forget about all the “small sample” crap and the abstractness of stuff like FIP. Fiers just didn’t allow runs. And although the meaning might not be all that much in terms of future performance and Major League-quality ability and all that, let’s get excited for Mr. Fiers, a guy who has made something out of nothing in his age-25 season with this dominance at Triple-A.
And who knows? Maybe we’ll see him putting up some numbers in the Major Leagues next year.