The Cincinnati Reds have made a virtual cornucopia of roster moves this afternoon. The team picked up right-handed pitcher Michael Feliz off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, added right-handed pitcher Art Warren from the taxi squad, and designated right-handed pitcher Sal Romano for assignment.
Let’s start off with Michael Feliz. He’s a 27-year-old right-handed reliever who has spent parts of the last seven seasons in the big leagues. From 2016-2019 he was in the big leagues for 46+ appearances each year for Houston and Pittsburgh. In 2020 he only threw 1.2 innings for the Pirates and this season he’s thrown 7.2 innings with a 2.35 ERA, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts for Pittsburgh at the Major League level. Color this writer as confused as to why a team would designate him for assignment given his performance so far this season.
In his big league career he’s mostly struggled. Feliz has posted a 5.07 ERA for his career in 213 games and 234.1 innings. He’s missed a bunch of bats, racking up 310 strikeouts, but he’s also issued his share of walks with 101 (3.9 walks per 9-innings pitched). The righty has a three pitch mix, utilizing a fastball, slider, and a change up. His fastball works in the 92-95 MPH range and averages 93.5 and he’s thrown it 52% of the time this season. The slider works in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and he’s throwing it 43% of the time this year. The change up doesn’t come out very often, just 5% of the time this season, but works in the mid 80’s.
If there’s going to be some concern when you dive into the stats a little bit you might want to look at the fly ball rate. Michael Feliz has been an extreme fly ball pitcher throughout his career. He’s also had an above-average home run per fly ball rate. Lots of fly balls and more fly balls than average leaving the yard coming to Great American Ball Park could be a very bad recipe.
To clear a spot on the 40-man roster the Reds designated Sal Romano for assignment. The big right-hander has been the go-to option to eat innings for Cincinnati in games that haven’t been all that close – at least for the most part. He’s pitched in 14 games. Here is the lead in each game he entered: 7, 5, 11, 14, 5, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 7, 5, 13, and 9. He was brought into more games that weren’t within slam range than he appeared in games that were within a field goal. On the season he had a 5.23 ERA in 20.2 innings – with half of his earned runs coming in an 8-0 loss to the Dodgers on April 28th. Since then he has allowed one run in 5.1 innings to Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Colorado.
At least for now taking Romano’s spot on the active roster will be Art Warren. The Ohio native and former Cincinnati Bearcat joined the Reds organization in January. He last pitched in the big leagues with Seattle in 2019 when he didn’t give up a run in 5.1 innings with two walks and five strikeouts for the Mariners in six games. This season he’s been with Louisville, but with their season only beginning on May 4th and Warren being on the taxi squad with the Reds, he’s only pitched in two games. He’s struck out four of the nine hitters he’s faced for the Bats this season.