Neftali Feliz has not had the best spring you could ask for yet. His velocity is down, and he is trying to learn a new arm angle. Richard Durrett had this to say on The Ranger Report Podcast yesterday about Neftali Feliz and his lower velocity:
“I’ll be honest, I don’t know…he did say that he wasn’t worried about the velocity, but the bottom line is that these reports in winter ball were that he was touching mid 90’s, even touching 97, and now you looking at a guy that was 87-91, and maybe touched 92 once today…there’s a big, big difference between those two numbers… He’s working on an new arm slot where he wants to get on top of it and it’s something that he’s got to get used to…but you just wonder, will the velocity come?”
Neftali Feliz so far in the spring has pitched one inning in which he gave up two runs on three hits, including a home run for an ERA of 18.00. Joakim Soria has also pitched one inning so far this spring, and his line looks a little better. He has given up no runs on no hits and no home runs which gives him an ERA of 0.00 (I checked the math twice so I know that I am right). Joakim Soria is quietly putting himself in the conversation to be the Texas Rangers closer. So is Tanner Scheppers, even though he is being stretched out to be a starter. Scheppers has thrown two innings and also has a 0.00 ERA.
Jaokim Soria has been a successful closer before, and he is much further removed from his Tommy John surgery. He may become the prime candidate to be the closer in a week or so if he continues to pitch well and look more like his old self then Neftali does. It’ll be interesting to see how the next weeks go between these two pitchers, and see if one of them really rockets themselves to the forefront. I was positive that it was going to be Nefti when the season started, but now I am not so sure thanks to Joakim Soria. I just hope the best guy for the job winds up winning it.