Astros Minor League Recap (6/19): Getting To Know Michael Feliz

There's a 19-year-old pitching prospect in the Astros system who stands 6'4" and touches 97 with his fastball, yet not many people know who he is. He dominated in his 2013 debut, so I wrote about him. Do yourself a favor, bookmark his player page on MiLB.com.

Meet Michael Feliz

The 19-year-old Dominican made his 2013 debut for the Valley Cats on Wednesday night, tossing five shutout innings, in which he allowed only one hit, struck out nine (!!!) and accumulated a 5:1 groundout/airout ratio.

As Kevin Goldstein points out, he's definitely a prospect to keep an eye on. Feliz became a blip on my radar following 2010, when I was sifting through Dominican Summer League box scores and noticed that he A) struck out 1+ batter per inning and B) had a good GO/AO ratio. Despite the Verne Troyeresque sample size, he piqued my interest.

Feliz signed as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2010, for 400K. Prior to signing with the Astros, Feliz tested positive for a steroid, which resulted in a 50-game suspension. It's obviously not a good situation when a 16-year-old tests positive for PEDs, but he seems to have moved on from that, and if you're an Astros fan, it was a blessing in disguise. He originally signed with the Oakland A's for 800K, whom voided his contract following the positive PED test. Steroids allowed the Astros to swoop in and get him at half the price.

The Astros have been gradually brining Feliz along since he signed his contract. Between the Gulf Coast League and Greenville, he pitched a career-high 64.2 innings last season, striking out 63 and walking 23. He also sported a 1.17 GO/AO ratio along with a 3.06 ERA. According to Minor League Central, he had a 2.95 FIP, 3.45 SIERA, 11.7 LD%, and 4.8 HR/OFB %.

At 6'4", 210, he has a beautiful frame, which helps him touch 97 with his fastball. He also has a curveball and change-up. He's consistently generated weak contact and missed bats during his climb through the Astros farm system, and although he still needs to work on his secondaries, walks, and workload, he's one of the true lottery tickets in the system.

All this Feliz talk is a perfect segway into the 2013 July 2 signing period, which is only a few weeks away. A signing period, I should mention, that the Astros have the largest bonus pool to spend. I highly recommend reading some of Ben Badler's work at Baseball America, to familiarize yourself with some of the prospects the Astros have ties to.

Before I get right into the stat-lines from last night's games, I present the only Michael Feliz video I could get my hands on. I'm sure a lot has changed since 2010, but it's all I could find. If you have a more recent video, please share!

Oklahoma City (37-32)

  • Jonathan Villar - 2-4, BB, K, SB, CS
  • Jake Elmore - 0-3, 2 BB, SB
  • Brett Wallace - 1-4, K
  • Brandon Laird - 0-4, K
  • Jon Singleton - 0-4, 3 K
  • Carols Perez - 1-3, BB, K
  • Mark Krauss - 0-4
  • Che-Hsuan Lin - 1-4, 2B, BB, K, SB
  • Robbie Grossman - 1-3, BB, K, 2 SB, 2 OA
  • Phil Humber - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 4/3 GO/AO
  • Kevin Chapman - 1IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • Jason Stoffel - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • Jose Valdez - 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Corpus Christi (42-29)

Lancaster (39-31) - OFF

Quad Cities (40-28) - OFF

Tri-City (3-0)

  • Tony Kemp - 1-4, BB, K, SB
  • Conrad Gregor - 1-4, CS
  • Michael Martinez - 3-4
  • Dan Gulbransen - 2-3
  • D'Andre Toney - 2-3, HR
  • Michael Feliz - 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 5/0 GO/AO
  • Andrew Walter - 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4/1 GO/AO

DSL Astros (9-6)

  • Hector Roa - 4-8, 2B, CS, 2 K
  • Victoer Taverez - 1-1 , HR
  • Elieser Hernandez - 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Angel Heredia - 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
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