Ed Wade gets a lot of heat around here, a lot is well deserved. But, he was hardly as bad what many make him out to have been. He did his best to invest in the minors. He did his best to trade players for legitimate prospects. And if you think he wasn't successful at doing so, you're not very familiar with the current roster.
No, he wasn't great. Yes, it was the right move to let him go. But, credit is given where credit is due. And bringing in some high end talent was something he was able to do. Even in the international market.
His biggest signing will likely go down as his worst as Ariel Ovando toils away in the short-season leagues. He's just not a very good hitter. There's some tools, but baseball requires some skill.
However, what may go down as his best signing was less publicized. Michael Feliz was a rather highly rated pitcher and earned him a big bonus with Oakland A's but a failed PED test nullified that. In come the Astros looking for a bargain! Ed Wade had tighter budget strings at the time and was able to get Feliz for half the original bonus.
Feliz would serve his 50 game suspension and not play until the 2011 season in the GCL. It was rough. He struggled with some walks and a poor BABIP. He returned the next season dominant but with luck on his side. That earned him a promotion where he didn't fare quite as well as the problems from 2011 resurfaced.
Then 2013 happened.
Scouts began talking about this kid with a plus fastball and a plus slider. People were excited. People were raving about him as the top prospect in the New York-Penn League. He was making batters look silly.
More of the same but with a little less luster. Walk rate is up some. Strikeout rate down some. Groundball rate down. BABIP is up. Still looks great on the mound. Still wows you. He had enough hype to get that call to the Future's Game.
Freaking Joey Gallo.
Yet, his filth was on display. For those of you who weren't able to watch it and have yet to see it, IrishPete is here.
Fastball that averaged 96 MHP! I was surprised to see that the his vertical movement in this outing was around 8 on the fastball. Thats about two inches below what I expected based on that first .gif. It's a fastball that's up in the zone and challenge the hitters eye level. It is quite straight though.
The change up has more movement and if used properly will be a big help for him.
Dat slider doe!
I could stare at it for hours. Such hard horizontal break. It looks like a fastball on the outer third at first before just darting away. He'll have to pull it in and control it better, but it's a filthy pitch.
But what about his mechanics. Alex Goodwin saw his start and was able to get some warm up tosses for me.
Noe: This is not a kinematic study of his mechanics.
I love Feliz's hips. He pushes his hips out early and lets them produce his momentum toward the plate so that he can maintain better balance while getting a good stride.
This is an example of why bullpen video and game video do not always match up. You'd like for it to, but it doesn't always do so.
Watch the .gifs. You see a pitcher who doesn't have a firm front side and gets full forward rotation. It allows for good scapula separation and helps get his release point closer to the plate. But watch the video. His front side is firm but he finishes very upright and without much forward rotation. He doesn't finish off the pitch and forces his posterior shoulder to work extremely hard to slow down the arm.