Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #64 Mike Fiers

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It’s January 26th. We are 64 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park on March 31st.

The man who wears #64 on his back gets his profile today. He is the first player on the countdown who is a member of the 40-man roster. He’s been a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher and when his command is on, he’s very good at either job. He is…

Mike Fiers.

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To describe the year that Mike Fiers had in 2013 takes more than just a simple look at his final numbers. The numbers were bad but his fortunes were worse.

Fiers was coming off of a 2012 season in which he burst onto the scene for 22 starts and a 3.74 ERA. It was a season that saw him post a 1.261 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched. Those and other numbers were there despite a late season swoon which many people hoped was simply as a result of fatigue.

Unfortunately, Fiers began his season with a rough start. Lasting just 5.0 innings and allowing six earned runs on nine hits (including two home runs) and one walk, it set the stage for a hard upcoming year.

The control-reliant righty would make just three starts at the big league level in 2013 to go along with eight relief appearances. They were spread out though. Fiers pitched in three games in April and then was demoted to Class-AAA Nashville on April 18th. He was then reassigned from Nashville to Class-A Advanced Brevard County which led to a lot of speculation as to his future with the ballclub.

As it turned out, Fiers requested the move to Brevard because it’s in Florida and far closer to his sick mother than Nashville was. And that’s where the most real bad fortune of Fiers’ season was centralized. I’ll refer you to this article by Adam McCalvy if you want to read more.

But, Fiers still had a job to do. And when Tom Gorzelanny hit the disabled list in May, Fiers was recalled. He would make the rest of his MLB appearances for the year before being sent back to Nashville on June 3rd.

In June, specifically on June 15th, Fiers would break his forearm when he took a line drive off of it during a game. He was scheduled to miss significant time. Some birthday present.

Perhaps though, in some way, the injury was a blessing in disguise. Fiers was able to rehab near home and as a result was able to be with his mother when she passed away in August.

Fiers dealt with more adversity on a personal and professional level in five months than most players deal with in a career. Still, he remains on the 40-man roster of the Brewers as he’s certainly demonstrated the ability to contribute at the big league level. He’ll be in camp with just as much chance to make the roster as anyone else.

In a world where too many athletes get their story of overcoming adversity written, when and if Fiers returns to the big leagues it will certainly be a much more appropriate use of the phrasing.

You can follow Mike Fiers on Twitter: @Fiers64

34 Comments

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