Yesterday was the long awaited debut of Neftali Feliz…as a starting pitcher. Our very own Rookie of the Year has made a case for an audition as a starting pitcher taking a page out of CJ Wilson’s bio. The Rangers are an organization who will not leave stones unturned and have decided to give him a shot during spring training. This is difficult for the club because Feliz was a lock-down closer for the team last season picking up 40 saves and 71 strikeouts. Closers like this are hard to come by and the Rangers aren’t entirely interested in finding a new one.
In his debut yesterday in spring training Neftali threw 2 innings, no strike outs and no runs allowed. Just looking at the box score you would have called it a successful outing but between the lines Feliz struggled. In only two innings he allowed two hits walked one and hit a batter. The first inning he threw 26 pitches, and was able to get out of the second inning with only ten pitches. The second inning was all about the fastball and Feliz was able to feel comfortable, getting an out from a fly ball and a grounder into a double-play. In the two inning outing he threw 36 pitches only 19 of which were for strikes.
My analysis of the outing? It’s too early to tell, I want to see him succeed as a starter but he has to have really good stuff in order to move from the pen. It’s a good problem to have really, we all love Nefty and want him to be happy with the club so we can keep him around for a while. He wasn’t amazing yesterday but he wasn’t bad either, somewhere in the middle. Now we wait for the next chapter.
In other news the Rangers won both of the split-squad games and Ian Kinsler hit his 3rd home run of camp. Today the Rangers play the Athletics at 2:05 central time, it’s not televised but should be on the radio or the MLB app. Unfortunately we won’t get a TV look at the team until Tuesday on an MLB Network delay.
Happy Friday and keep an eye out this weekend for my Rangers Fantasy Draft Guide!