Is Neftali Feliz ready for the closer role?
By David Cash
May 13, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Neftali Feliz (30) throws a pitch during the third inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Neftali Feliz now done his time with the Toros in the Dominican Winter League. This extra time in the DWL has given Feliz the extra innings he needed to complete his come back from Tommy John surgery to prepare for the 2014 season. Feliz joined the Toros in mid-November and continued his streak of not allowing any runs for the 2013 year to a total of 10 games (6 for the Texas Rangers and 4 for the Toros).
The first time Feliz was tagged for a run was December 2 when he gave up a single followed by walk in the beginning of the inning which was followed up with a sac fly to score the run. The only other time he was scored on was on December 10 was able to pitch in the 9th inning, non save situation, and allowed a single, double and a walk which lead to two runs being scored. The Toros lost that game 12-0.
He finished DWL season with an ERA of 2.79 over 9.2 innings and recorded 11 strikeouts and allowing 2 walks. He didn’t pitch in any save situations, but he did pitch in the 8th inning several times and managed to hold the lead for the Toros.
Despite his 2 rough games Neftali Feliz still is on the right track to be the closer opening day for the Texas Rangers. My opinion is that Feliz is the best option for the Texas Rangers for their closer. One reason I feel this way is because Feliz did very well in the role prior to the arrival of Joe Nathan. Some fans may still be upset about the game 6 World Series blown save, but it happens. Even the best pitchers will allow hits and runs. Feliz pitched very well in the previous 17 postseason games and has a 1.93 postseason ERA.
Looking back to 2011, a full season sample before his injury, he pitched very well over 62.1 innings with an ERA of 2.74. Over the past several years, Feliz has been strong and steady. Now that he’s healthy again, I expect more of the same.
Feliz does have the attitude, arm and talent needed to be the closer for the Texas Rangers. Out of the 3 potential closers, Neftali Feliz to me has the most guts and toughness to get the job done late in the game. I will miss Nathan, but Feliz is a good replacement.
Neftali Feliz is ready and has prepared well for the 2014 season. I think he’ll be the closer but, nothing is set yet. Jon Daniels has said that Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers or Joakim Soria are on his short list of potential closers. My pick is Feliz, who do you want to the closer to be next year?