J.P. Feyereisen is an under the radar Yankees prospect who could have an impact in the majors in 2017
J.P Feyereisen came to the Yankees this past season before the trade deadline in the deal that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians. Feyereisen is one of the under the radar prospects who came to the Yankees before the trade deadline, but he could still have a real impact in the majors this season.
Feyereisen is not among the top 30 Yankees prospects ranked after the 2016 season but that’s because he is a relief pitcher and the Yankees now have a deep system. He will be 24 on February 7 and was drafted in the 16th round in 2014 of of Division 3 University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point by the Indians.
He has excelled at every level he has pitched at in his three seasons in the minors as he has a 1.61 ERA in 103 games (123.0 innings) with a 21 saves, only five homers allowed, 158 strikeouts, only 43 walks, a .178 batting average against and an impressive 0.98 WHIP. In his three professional seasons he has pitched first at Single-A short season Mahoning Valley, Single-A full season Lake County, High-A Lynchburg, Double-A Akron RubberDucks and then the Double-A Trenton Thunder in the Yankees organization.
The River Falls, Wisconsin, native pitched in 15 games (17 innings) in the NY Penn League (Short season A ball) after being drafted in 2014 and did not allow an earned run, recorded four saves in four opportunities & had 24 strikeouts with only one walk. In 2015, while pitching in the Single-A Midwest League and the High-A Carolina League, he had 2.08 ERA in 46 games with a .179 batting average against, 56 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP.
He was able to improve his strikeout total and record a lower ERA in the 2016 season while pitching at the more challenging Double-A level. The jump from Single-A to Double-A is very challenging because so many top prospects are at this level, which proves how significant his previous season was.
With the Double-A RubberDucks, he pitched well with a 2.23 ERA in 33 games with 56 strikeouts (the total he had in the 2015 season), only 33 hits in 40.1 innings, a relatively high 1.24 WHIP and a .205 batting average against. The unique aspect of Freyereisen’s season is that he was traded within the same Double-A league and would face his old teammates on the RubberDucks about a week or two after joining the Thunder. He would excel with the Thunder even more than he did with the RubberDucks.
He allowed one earned run in 18 innings pitched (0.50 ERA in 9 games) with eight hits allowed, six walks, 22 strikeouts, an excellent .136 batting average against and a stellar 0.78 WHIP. These stats mean that he will likely begin the season with the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders, since he had a 1.70 ERA last season, and possibly earn a promotion after a month or two.
The righty dominated overall in 2016 but does need to improve on his performance against lefties. Freyereisen had a cumulative 1.70 ERA last season and a .185 batting average against, but lefties posted a .255 average and a .327 on-base percentage against him.
The pitchers who are guaranteed for the bullpen with the Yankees as of now are Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Tommy Layne. Adam Warren is in consideration for the №4 or №5 rotation spot but would make more sense and will likely pitch in the middle innings like Layne. It’s also likely that Chad Green will be in the bullpen as the long man because it seems like Luis Severino and Luis Cessa are the best options to make the rotation out of the five candidates.
Young relief pitchers like Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder, who made appearances as rookies last season, could be members of the bullpen. Chasen Shreve, who is 26 and pitched well for the Yankees in 2015 but struggled last season, could also be a member of the bullpen if he has a strong spring training.
However, after those seven, Feyereisen has a great chance to make an impact because the chances are that one or more of them will not be effective at some point. All Feyereisen has to do is prove that he can pitch well at the Triple-A level like he has at all the other minor league levels.
The Arizona Fall League is for elite prospects and Feyereisen was able to perform in October against the best. He had an impressive 18 strikeouts and a very solid 2.57 ERA.
His coach in the AFL said he has a, “good presence out there. He wants the ball in any situation and those guys don’t grow on trees.”
An impressive fact about the righty is that he didn’t begin pitching until his junior year of high school. His coach asked for a volunteer to pitch since the team needed someone during a doubleheader and Feyereisen, who had mostly been a 3rd baseman, performed well.
“I said I’d try it, and it was the first time I pitched since I was 8 or 9 years old,” Feyereisen said. “All I was throwing was fastballs. I didn’t throw too hard, but I had enough heat to get guys out.” He got the win in that first start after impressively only giving up two runs in seven innings.
The Andrew Miller trade will likely have given the Yankees players in Clint Frazier, Heller and Feyereisen who will help the team this season and Justus Sheffield who can help the team possibly in the 2018 season.