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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Featured Post Get to Know: Neftali Feliz

Anytime anybody anywhere throws a 100 mph fastball, it creates a Sidd Finch-like buzz. What happens when a real-life pitcher clocks in at 101 mph? Someone should ask Texas pitcher Neftali Feliz. He hit that magical speed on the final pitch of his two perfect-inning performance Monday against Oakland. As you can see here, it's not often a pitcher clears the 100-mph mark in their first big-league appearance. The Rangers top-rated prospect also finished with four strikeouts, in case you were wondering. Fangraphs.com charted Feliz's outing. It appears to be an unstoppable combination of two-seam and four-seam fastballs with a few curveballs mixed in. So is this kid the real deal, or is he just another reliever rocking a "Dora the Explorer" backpack? Can he help your fantasy team right now? Why not? Feliz will take the same route as fellow prospect Derek Holland, who started in the bullpen earlier this season before taking on a spot in the rotation. Holland has taken a few bruises, but he also is coming off his best start of the season. Rangers manager Ron Washington hasn't made it clear which path Feliz will take. Feliz split time between the bullpen and rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was 3-5 with a 3.86 ERA and 55 Ks in 60.2 innings over 13 starts; 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 20 Ks in 16.2 innings as a reliever. Feliz obviously would have more fantasy value as a starter, but the Rangers are booked at the moment. He could push out Holland or Tommy Hunter. For now, Feliz will likely pitch out of the bullpen in a seventh-inning or setup role. The more Feliz dazzles with that 100-and-then-some-fastball, however, the greater the pressure will be on Washington to put him in the rotation. Don't be surprised if Feliz reels in three or four September starts as a result. From there, file away what Baseball America had to say in their 2009 Prospect Handbook. Armed with that advice, storing Feliz isn't a bad idea. Just make sure it fits within your roster limits. Setup men have only so much value for so long in leagues that do not reward holds. And when you get a chance, tune into a Rangers' game. You don't see a 100-mph pitch every day.

1 comment:

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