J.P. Feyereisen, Record-Setter | FanGraphs Baseball

J.P. Feyereisen, Record-Setter | FanGraphs Baseball
© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I feel lets all use a little bit extra sure reinforcement in our lives. Imagine typing away at your table process (c’mon, it’s now not that a lot of a stretch to wager that you simply’re studying this at paintings) when your boss sends you a message. “Hey there,” they are saying. “You just set a record! You contributed positively to 13 meetings in a row. I’d like to take the webcam you were using for those meetings and put it in the Hall of Fame.”

Wouldn’t that really feel nice? Sure, it’s more or less meaningless, however let’s think your process is necessary sufficient that folks in truth cross to this Hall of Fame. It could be superior! Look, the suspenders {that a} supervisor wore whilst suggesting informal Fridays for the primary time. Behold the napkins left at the back of from the primary a hit running lunch. I’d revel in getting credit score for random information now and again. It feels excellent to do one thing nobody else has ever executed.

Setting a list, any list, is inherently cool. But surroundings a list for one thing that everybody who does your process is at all times seeking to do? That’s a completely other degree. An instance: J.P. Feyereisen is out for the rest of the yr, this means that that he’ll set a contemporary list on the conclusion of the season.

It’s now not even a ludicrous one, like maximum pickoff throws with out recording a pickoff or easiest strand fee in blowout video games. No, he’s going for one thing all of us care about: ERA. Feyereisen threw 24.1 innings this yr. He didn’t permit an earned run. That’s essentially the most innings somebody within the post-integration technology has pitched in one season with out permitting a run. The most effective pitcher to throw extra innings in a season and finish with a nil.00 ERA used to be Earl Moore, who threw 26 scoreless in 1908.

“Most innings without X” information are risky by means of their very nature. You received’t see somebody surroundings this list in a wholesome season; it’s just too many innings. Jacob deGrom’s exceptional 2021 used to be lower brief by means of harm and used to be additionally some of the dominant seasons, on a per-inning foundation, of all time. He nonetheless allowed 11 earned runs. To publish a nil.00 ERA, you wish to have to restrict your innings.

But after all, if you happen to prohibit your innings an excessive amount of, you received’t set the list. Since 1901, most effective 4 pitchers have completed a season with no less than 20 innings pitched and a nil.00 ERA, and two of the ones hit 20 precisely. It’s tricky! If you’re excellent sufficient to position up a nil.00 ERA for 20 innings, your group most probably desires to make use of you numerous. But in case your group makes use of you numerous, you most likely received’t have a nil.00 ERA for lengthy, even though the additional innings you’re giving them are vastly treasured.

Feyereisen suits into that class. The Rays have used him in medium-to-high leverage spots since obtaining him in a business with the Brewers early in 2021 (Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen for Willy Adames, if you happen to’re protecting ranking at house). They stay the usage of him in the ones spots as a result of he helps to keep deserving it; he has a 1.48 ERA since becoming a member of the group final season, the third-best mark within the main leagues over that span. Even in a Rays bullpen dense with affect fingers, he’s been one of the most very best.

I sought after to understand extra, so I spoke to Feyereisen about it. Did he know he used to be on a heater at first of this yr? It didn’t break out his realize. “Yeah, I knew it, but I didn’t really want to think about it. I actually go on these streaks sometimes,” he advised me. “When I first got drafted, I went 31 innings into my pro career before I gave up my first run. And last year with the Brewers before I got traded, I was 17 appearances in without giving up a run. I have a month and a half or two month span where everything feels good and it’s rolling for me.”

Of route, not anything lasts without end, one thing he neatly is aware of. “A lot of the time in baseball, it’s luck too. I had one ball that should’ve been a homer at the time, and (Josh) Lowe robbed it. That would’ve been a run. You definitely have to have things break your way in baseball. There’s a little bit of luck involved for sure.”

The undeniable fact that excellent fortune used to be concerned doesn’t imply Feyereisen didn’t take note of his scoreless streak. “I knew, and my teammates knew. When I was finally done for the year, Jason Adam came up to me and said, ‘Well congratulations on a 0.00 ERA this year.’” You can consider that good fortune is concerned all you wish to have; going 22 appearances with out permitting an earned run calls for a ton of ability.

A snappy digression: I stay pronouncing ‘earned run’ as a result of Feyereisen gave up an unearned run, nevertheless it wasn’t a type of borderline calls that may have long gone both manner. In a conflict in opposition to the Orioles, he had two outs when Vidal Bruján booted a grounder to 2d. That arrange first and 2d with two outs. Robinson Chirinos then hit a ball at the nostril, without delay at Randy Arozarena, who merely dropped it, and a run scored at the play. Talk about dangerous good fortune.

That run apart, Feyereisen’s season continues to be flawless in the case of the crown jewel of pitching statistics, ERA. That makes him the one pitcher in fashionable instances to show in that a lot absolute best paintings. “I think it’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t even have known about it until someone alerted me to it,” he advised me. It’s spectacular regardless of most effective being a list because of his season being lower brief because of harm. “Did I pitch a full season? No. Would I have given up a run? Yes, 100% at some point in time I would have given up a run, that’s just baseball. If you think you’re not ever going to give up a run, you’ll drive yourself crazy thinking about it. But the fact that I was able to do it, yeah it’s still cool. I’m one of two to ever do it.”

Saying he’s one in all two would possibly short-change him. Moore, who went 26 scoreless in 1908, did it over 3 begins. Baseball used to be wildly other again then; much less aggressive, lower-scoring, and dense with mistakes – Moore allowed 4 unearned runs that yr. What’s extra, he most effective needed to be excellent for 3 video games. Doing it over 22 appearances, as Feyereisen did, manner extra possibilities for a hiccup, extra possibilities to easily now not have it that day, and less possibilities to stand a group mired in a funk and upload a large bite of scoreless innings in sooner or later. He discussed Josh Hader’s 40-game scoreless look streak as some of the spectacular reduction pitching feats of our technology, and I’m prone to agree.

I don’t wish to fall sufferer to that vintage baseball research lure of creating a tale of one thing converting when not anything has truly modified. A tumbler as excellent as Feyereisen is at all times a risk to head on a scoreless streak simply by distinctive feature of being excellent total. But one thing truly has modified this yr for him – his mentality. “In the past, walks have been kinda my M.O. I walk a lot of guys,” he mentioned. “I went into this year thinking, I’m gonna give him my best, and it’s gonna be in the zone. Basically, that’s what my mentality was: throw it over the plate and see what happens. Getting ahead helped me either finish guys off or get weaker contact, and that mentality of getting the ball over the plate and getting them in negative counts faster helped me a lot.”

A look on the numbers confirms that his strike-throwing mentality has borne fruit. With the Brewers, Feyereisen had a primary strike fee of 55.2%. With the Rays, it has climbed to 67.1%, one of the most very best marks within the recreation. He walked most effective 5.8% of his combatants this yr, which might be spectacular for somebody, however in particular anyone who got here into the yr with a profession 14% mark.

Feyereisen credit the Rays training body of workers for his newfound strike-throwing prowess. “Since I’ve been over here, the thing that they’ve told me is to throw it over the plate and see what happens. What’s the worst case scenario, they hit a solo shot? It’s better than walking a guy and giving up a two-run dinger. Let’s get the ball over the plate and put it in the odds of baseball. They’re gonna get out seven out of 10 times even if they’re a Hall of Famer.”

Is it truly as simple as simply deciding to throw moves? Well, more or less. “It’s a commitment not only from me but my catchers behind the dish,” Feyereisen mentioned. “Early on in my career, the plan was to try to steal that first strike with something the hitter can’t get a hold of. With the Rays, we just see what the first 0-0 pitch is, and if we get a strike, then we’re in command and we can attack. I believe that difference helped me out a ton.”

Feyereisen makes all of it sound easy, as even though committing to throwing moves can flip a cast pitcher right into a record-setter. For his flood-the-zone strategy to pay dividends, on the other hand, he must flood the zone with high quality pitches. Seeing whether or not batters can hit it really works higher after they’re not going to hit it.

To that finish, Feyereisen credit the Brewers group. He’s at all times thrown a backspinning four-seam fastball that flummoxes opposing hitters, however he discovered his very best secondary pitch somewhat just lately. “The Brewers taught me my changeup. I didn’t have a changeup at all in the minor leagues, and they taught me one. It might be my best-rated pitch now.” (For what it’s value, his fastball nonetheless grades out higher, no less than consistent with our numbers, however the changeup is an in depth 2d.)

After the Brewers helped him craft his arsenal, the Rays helped him hone it. Feyereisen credit the Rays for focusing him on what he used to be very best at – in his case, attacking with two superb pitches. “[The Rays] are really good at finding guys that are good at something and saying ‘Hey, let’s just do this a lot more.’ They take guys that teams have either DFA’ed or released and turn them into something. They find that little thing that you have, and turn it into a big thing.” It sounds easy, nevertheless it’s deceptively laborious to strip issues away with out converting what makes a tumbler nice within the first position. Of route, if it had been simple, extra groups could be doing it.

Feyereisen received’t sign up for Tampa Bay’s lights-out bullpen within the postseason this yr, however he’ll be gazing them intently – and taking part in it. Like the remainder of us, he marvels at their intensity. “There’s no team in the big leagues that can match our bullpen from head to toe,” he advised me. “One through eight, we just have a farm of arms, and it’s a lot of fun to look at stats and [see] everybody’s pitching lights out. It makes baseball a lot more fun when everybody’s nasty instead of just one or two guys.”

Opposing hitters are most probably glad he isn’t recently a part of that supplement. Feyereisen allowed a ridiculous .112 wOBA this yr; that’s worse than the mixture batting line pitchers publish on the plate in 2021. When he took the mound, opposing offenses crumbled to mud. Maybe that quantity would have climbed with time. Almost indubitably, in reality, it could have climbed with time. Feyereisen, in the meantime, would indubitably have traded a couple of earned runs for now not lacking the steadiness of the season with harm. But as silver linings cross, surroundings a list that would possibly stand without end isn’t part dangerous. Whatever the remainder of Feyereisen’s profession holds, his 2022 season is with out precedent.

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