Unlike in years’ past, players who signed MLB contracts for the 2019 season cannot be traded after the July 31st deadline. Waiver trades no longer exist, so the only that MLB players can change hands after that is through the waiver claim process or by being released and signed to new free agent contracts. Those same rules do not extend to non 40-man roster players in the minor leagues, however, and today the Milwaukee Brewers announced a trade for just such a pitcher.
RHP J.P. Feyereisen (assigned to minor leagues) has been acquired from the Yankees in exchange for INF Brenny Escanio and international signing bonus pool money. pic.twitter.com/vLSM5Ir9rC— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 2, 2019
JP Feyereisen is actually a state native, born and raised in River Falls, Wisconsin. He pitched collegiately at UW-Stevens Point before getting selected in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. Feyereisen was the final piece of the 2016 trade that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland, and the now 26 year old right-hander has prevented runs at a stellar clip at every one of his minor league stops. That includes the last three years at Triple-A.
No stranger to multi-inning appearances, Feyereisen has worked a total of 307.2 innings across 217 games in the minor leagues. His swing-and-miss stuff has led to plenty of late-inning opportunities, and he’s piled up 33 saves and 109 games finished along the way. On the whole, he owns a 2.49 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9, and despite being a fly-ball pitcher, he’s prevented home runs at a strong rate (0.6 HR/9).
Feyereisen appears to have taken his bat-missing abilities to a new level with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate this season. He has racked up 94 punchouts in 61.1 innings for a career-best rate of 13.8 K/9. His walks are up at 4.5 BB/9, but he’s helped counter that by allowing only a .171 opponent batting average, only 5.4 H/9 and six total home runs. It has all added up to a 2.49 ERA covering 40 appearances, and that is backed up by a dominating 42 DRA-, meaning that his Deserved Run Average is 58% better than the typical pitcher in his league.
Prior to the start of the 2019 the report on Feyereisen from the Yankees-centric site Pinstriped Prospects was as follows:
Feyereisen’s best pitch is, by far, his fastball. It sits in the mid-’90s, but once in a while, it will get close to triple digits. It is his most used pitch and he often just tries to blow it by batters.
He also sports a slider as a secondary pitch, but it is a work in progress. It can be good at times, but he needs to be able to throw it more consistently for it to become a weapon for him. He also toys around with a changeup, but he very rarely uses it.
Overall Feyereisen’s control isn’t terrible, and he doesn’t walk too many batters. He is mechanically sound, but his command needs a lot of work.
One other thing interesting to note about Feyereisen’s profile is the obscene amount of infield fly balls that he generates. JP has induced a fly ball 45% of the time that he’s given up a batter ball this year, and 44.4% of those have been recorded as infield fly balls by Fangraphs. That’s the highest rate in the Pacific Coast League this year by 10%, and he posted a similarly stupendous 38.6% infield fly ball rate last season. Feyereisen, who stands at 6’2” and weighs 215 lbs, has also previously worked with Driveline Baseball and has boosted his velocity quite a bit since getting drafted.
Because of his proximity to Wisconsin’s western border, Feyereisen grew up a Twins’ fan, but his football allegiances lie with the Green Bay Packers. He recently discussed his thoughts on Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur with David Laurila in his Sunday Notes column. His plan when enrolling at Stevens Point was to eventually become a teacher, but once he took off on the mound and turned professional, his focus has turned to finding his way to a big league bullpen:
“If they asked me if I want to start or go in the bullpen, I wouldn’t even think twice,” Feyereisen said. “I love the bullpen. The games are won in the ninth inning.”
It is not immediately clear whether the Brewers plan on bringing JP Feyereisen to the big leagues this year or not, but if he does come up and pitch for Milwaukee, he’d be ineligible for the postseason roster because he was acquired after the August 31st deadline. If he isn’t added to the 40-man roster, Feyereisen would be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this coming winter. He would then qualify for minor league free agency after the 2020 season. It stands to reason that if the Brewers were willing to trade for him at this stage of the year, they would want to give him a look either down the stretch or next spring before leaving him exposed. Milwaukee’s pitching woes offer a much clearer path to a big league role than the Yankees’ deep stable of relief depth.
Heading back to New York is an unspecified amount of international bonus money, which is traded in $250K increments. The Brewers began the current J2 signing period with a $5,939,800 pool allotment, and they obviously haven’t used all of it. The Yankees also get a lottery ticket in Brenny Escanio, a 16 year old infielder listed as a shortstop that the Brewers inked on July 2nd of this summer. The 5’9”, 145 lb native of the Dominican Republic received an unreported bonus and did not suit up for any of Milwaukee’s affiliates this year.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus, Baseball-Reference, and Fangraphs