The Texas Rangers already have a strong starting rotation. However, after missing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and acquiring no other strong starter such as Lee, it raised the question of whether or not Neftali Feliz should be converted to a starter.
The clear answer to that is a simple "no."
Yes, I do understand that he posted great numbers as a starter in the minor leagues, which included a 3.49 ERA in 25 games (13 of which he started) at the Triple A level.
But is it just me that realized that his ERA just went up slowly in his minor league career ever since the Single A level? Feliz had a 2.52 ERA in Single A, 2.98 at Double A and as I had mentioned, a 3.49 ERA at Triple A.
Some might still argue that what he showed at the major league level in 2010, leading the Texas Rangers to the World Series with 40 saves, is enough to convince them they he can start just as well as when he closed games.
Sorry to break it to you, but being faced by the same hitter at least three times an average per start is an effective way for hitters to see what kind of stuff the starter has. Hitters can make adjustments much quicker.
Therefore, that would lead into a higher ERA, more hits allowed and not to mention more strain than one would have closing. He also only posses two excellent pitches, and usually front of the rotation guys have three of them.
Should Neftali Feliz be converted into a starter?
And if Feliz is already good at being a closer, keep him there.
No one wants to see another Joba Chamberlain project, and we all know how that turned out. He was great at coming in the eighth inning and getting the side out easily: one-two-three. But after being put in the starting rotation, and going back to the pen, and so on, Chamberlain just lost the mental side of pitching, and now he is working as just an average relief pitcher in the New York Yankees' bullpen.
Besides, there's no other certain closer-in-waiting for the Rangers and with uncertainly about how the back end of the pitching would be, that would not be a championship caliber team.
For the best of the Texas Rangers, Neftali Feliz should stay their closer.