On the Brink: Neftali Feliz

Chris GilmoreCorrespondent IApril 18, 2009

SURPRISE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 24:  Neftali Feliz #66 of the Texas Rangers during photo day at Surprise Stadium on February 24, 2009 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by: Harry How/Getty Images)

DOB: 05/02/1988

Frame: 6'3'' 180 lbs

Stuff: Four seam fastball(94-99 MPH consistently, plus plus pitch), curve ball(promising), and a change up(improving).

The Past: The Atlanta Braves signed Neftali at the age of 17 out of the Dominican Republic during the 2005 season. After two short stints in RC ball with the Braves, Feliz was traded, with a few other prospects, to the Texas Rangers through the 2007 Mark Teixera deal.

In 2008, Feliz broke out posting a 2.69 ERA with a 10.8 SO/9 ratio through two levels in the minors. Neftali skyrocketed up many scout’s top 100 lists, and is universally considered one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball. His fastball is one of the most intimidating pitches in all of the minors.

The scary thing is that Neftali still has a lot of projection, his curve and change up both have a good amount of potential. Coupled with his fastball these pitches could make him almost unstoppable. His mechanics are smooth and clean, and he has good makeup.

The Present: Neftali found himself starting the year, with the Rangers AAA affiliate Oklahoma City. Through two starts Feliz has a 2.00 ERA with a 9/8 SO/BB ratio. His command has been a bit off, but he has shown good poise allowing only 2 ER through nine innings pitched.

The Future: Like his fellow AAA teammate Derek Holland, Neftali should find himself in the majors sometime during the 2009 season, likely in the bullpen. The Rangers will likely call him up sooner rather than later as their pitching has been struggling in the young season while they offense has played great; many believe that the Rangers are a few good arms away from a serious playoff run.

Jon Cadien, The Statline Report


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