Feliz as a Starter: The 1st Chapter

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.

Feliz in his Starter Debut, Photo by Ron T. Ennis from StarTelegram.com

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!


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Tags: Neftali Feliz Texas Rangers

  • Stacy Smith

    Great post, Jonathan. Feliz is the best closer the Rangers have and while I would also love him to succeed in the starting rotation, the club needs him in the pen. We’ll see what happens – I don’t see the move being made as of right now, though. BTW, keep up the good work. I’m enjoying having you on board here with me!

  • Kevin Mench

    So what if he earns the 3rd spot behind CJ and Colby, who the hell closes? Ogando? No way are they really trying to make him a starter?

    • Jonathan Collander

      Funny, I have a Kevin Mench autograph somewhere around here. Yeah personally I’m not ready to lose him as a closer, I think Ogando would do well but he needs some seasoning. We have a bunch of starters in camp right now and he has to really impress to get out of the bullpen.

  • Kevin Elster

    If we are using old ranger names this thread could get interesting. They will give him a legitimate shot and they should. Everyone said the same thing last year about CJ that they are saying about Feliz. If we can turn him into a solid 2 or 3 in the rotation, you have to make that move. In baseball, starting pitching is far more important then the closer. Why do you think Cliff Lee just signed a 100+ million dollar deal? What closer has ever made that type of money? None.

    • Jonathan Collander

      I totally agree that he will eventually be a good starter, and he will get a fair shot. We will lose an outstanding closer, it’s worth it if we know he can handle it.

      I was a total CJ doubter and was proven wrong, looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in spring training, it is only the 1st chapter.

  • Holden Humphreys

    I would LOVE to see Nefty start. How many innings did we get from Feliz last year? How many innings could we have got if he was a starter? Easy decision for me. As far as who closes should Nefty move to the rotation, Ogando is the most likely candidate, but I’d like to see Lowe get a shot.