In 2016, the Brewers selected catcher Mario Feliciano as a supplemental second-round pick. Feliciano spent quite a bit of time near the top of the Brewers prospect rankings list. He had a monster minor league season in 2019 and was viewed as the catcher of the future. Two seasons later, after very little major league playing time, he was removed from the Brewers 40-man roster as a result of the Owen Miller trade.
What went wrong for Mario Feliciano, who was previously viewed as the Brewers catcher of the future?
As mentioned, Feliciano had a monster 2019 MiLB season. Overall he slashed .270/.323/.474/.796 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI. He then spent time on the Brewers 60-man roster during the 2020 season, but did not make a big league appearance. That offseason, he was added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
In 2021, Feliciano missed most of the season due to injury. He appeared in just 39 minor league games and made one appearance with the Brewers. His lone at-bat that year came in May in which he drew a walk. Big league playing time in 2022 was not any better. He made just two game appearances.
At the minor league level in 2022, Feliciano hit for a pretty good average, but the power was lacking. Over 285 at-bats he hit for a .274 batting average, but had just a .386 slugging percentage with six home runs. Over the past few minor league seasons at Triple-A, he has not been able to display the power that was there previously at the lower levels.
How was Feliciano as a defender?
Defensively, there was some concern regarding Feliciano’s ability behind the plate. In 2022 alone, he registered 65 games behind the dish. He allowed 14 past balls and threw out just nine of 52 base runners (15%). His ability to defend is one area that he still needs further development in.
All-in-all, between using two major league options, the loss of power against higher level pitching, and the defensive concerns, Feliciano ended up near the bottom of the Brewers depth chart. Matt Arnold re-acquired catcher Payton Henry via trade this offseason. There also is Victor Caratini and William Contreras ahead of him as well.
With being removed from the 40-man roster, there is a chance that he could end up on another team. If he clears waivers, he could remain in the Brewers system. We will see over the next few days what ends up happening with him.