Brewers: A Closer Look At J.P. Feyereisen’s Fiery Start To The Season

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 25: J.P. Feyereisen #54 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 25: J.P. Feyereisen #54 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Everyone loves to see the hometown kid have success. Fellow Wisconsinites Craig Counsell, Jim Gantner, Jerry Augustine and Bob Uecker among others got the chance to play in front of the Milwaukee faithful and now J.P. Feyereisen is making his presence felt with the Brewers.

J.P. Feyereisen has flown under the radar for the better part of his time with the Brewers but it’s impossible to ignore what he’s done so far. When you’re teammates with Josh Hader and Devin Williams along with Eric Yardley who had a stellar 2020 season and the steady arm that is Brent Suter…chances are you won’t be the most talked about player in the position group. But it’s time to start a conversation about “The Pride of River Falls”.

Feyereisen has 11.2 IP, with 11 strikeouts, four hits, a .108 batting average against, and a pristine 0.00 ERA. He’s been virtually untouchable so far and has established himself as one of, if not the most, reliable arms out of the bullpen for Craig Counsell. Feyereisen had a really productive spring and that success has translated beautifully to the regular season.

Let’s see what our friends over at Baseball Savant think of Brewers RHP J.P. Feyereisen and see how he stacks up with the best pitchers in the MLB.

In terms of percentile rankings, his numbers are very appealing if you’re a Brewer fan. He’s better than league average in 10 of the 12 major categories including the 89th percentile in expected slugging percentage, 91st percentile in barrel percentage and whiff percentage which is in the 94th percentile.

Feyereisen is one of 36 players in the entire league that has yet to allow a barrel. It could be argued that his best pitch this year is his changeup, that he only throws 20% of the time, up 2% from last season. That changeup has been tabbed the ‘Feyerbender’ by a few creative individuals on Twitter but Devin Williams says he didn’t aid Feyereisen at all with the pitch.

The ‘Feyerbender’ is a bit faster than his slider at 88.2 mph on average but hitters haven’t even registered a hit against it. It also has a whiff percentage of 56.5% and it has the highest put away percentage out of his four pitches at 30%, in part though because he throws his slider and fastball more frequently.

His slider has surpassed his four seam fastball as his most used pitch this season at 40.1% of the time. He also added a sinker this year but Statcast says he’s only thrown the pitch twice so far. Feyereisen has also seen a drastic increase of ground balls this year.

In 2020, he had a ground ball percentage of 33.3% but in 2021 it has jumped to 46.2%. The only other notable changes in his batted ball profile is that his pop up percentage has dropped from 16.7% to 3.8% and his pull percentage has increased from 29.2% to 38.5%.

When talking about movement on his pitches, it’s impossible not to notice how his pitches dance on the way to the plate, specifically downward. Feyereisen ranks second in all of baseball in average vertical movement on his four seam fastball at 3.7 inches, trailing James Karinchak of the Indians who edges him out by a tenth of an inch.

His changeup also ranks towards the top of the MLB at an average vertical break of 3.8 inches, good enough for 27th best in baseball. Lastly, his slider also shows some downward action at 1.4 inches on average, which is also better than average. These three pitches are key reasons as to why he’s seen such an uptick of ground balls.

A couple areas he could improve on are walk percentage and hard hit percentage. He’s surrendered seven free passes in almost 12 innings of work so cutting down on those would make it that much harder for hitters to get on base. In terms of the hard hit percentage, that’s when a ball has an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher off the bat, compared to a barrel percentage that factors in launch angle as well, Feyereisen could use some improvement. His hard hit percentage is only in the ninth percentile but he is a relatively hard thrower so that might be a big reason why he’s giving up such hard hit balls.

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The UW-Stevens Point product has come in during both high and low leverage situations and has consistently shown he’s capable of being a big piece of one of the better bullpens in the league. If Devin Williams can get back on track, the Brewers three-headed monster of Feyereisen, Williams and Hader could silence any lineup in baseball.

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