Mario Feliciano jumped up ten spots on the Milwaukee Brewers prospect list from last season. That puts him at number 15 entering the 2018 campaign.
That kind of jump on the list in only a year is pretty impressive. The catcher really proved something with his performance in the 2017 season. The Milwaukee Brewers selected Feliciano in the Competitive Balance B round in 2016.
The 19 year old backstop spent last season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. It is a good thing for the Brewers to have three top catching prospects, and Feliciano now leads the pack as far as rank. Reviewing the Brew has already profiled KJ Harrison and Jacob Nottingham.
It is worth noting that Feliciano was 18 last season while playing above the Rookie level. As is the case with several young players, his bat is the exciting tool at this point. He has a good swing and can find the barrel very well. While homers are not a huge part of his game yet, he flashes some great gap power. His mature approach at his young age makes him a threat to hit for average more than anything.
Feliciano has a strong arm that helps him behind the plate. His natural athleticism is what will carry his potential as a defender. As he goes through the minors and gets closer to his MLB ETA of 2020, he will certainly be more of a hitter than a fielder.
The 2017 season brought with it a hefty 402 at bat with the Timber Rattlers. Feliciano ended with an average in the .250s with four homers and 16 doubles. His patience paid off with 34 walks and only 72 strikeouts in 104 games. He showed off some decent running ability with a pair of triples.
Even though his profile says he will hit for average, he needs to show that a little more. He hit .265 in 2016, and for a catcher that is good. However, if he doesn’t stay behind the plate, the average will need to come around. With his approach at the plate, it would make sense that the average will rise this year. But remember, he is 19 years old.
How Does He Project?
It is not unlikely that Feliciano will eventually grow into the role of the Milwaukee Brewers starting catcher. Even with Nottingham projected to see the majors this season and Harrison expected to at the same time Feliciano is. Given his minors placement and age, he is ahead of the curve and will continue to grow.
With his tools at the plate, he will be a nice addition in the lineup. A lot will depend on how his defense comes around and if he sticks with the position. There is a chance he vacates and focuses on refining his hitting approach.
The Milwaukee Brewers need a little luck on their side, but they can have a solid catcher for years to come. There are a ton of variables, and Feliciano is in no way a sure thing, but he is an exciting prospect. With a good season, his stock will continue to rise.