Neftali Feliz needs this in order to be the closer


The Texas Rangers traded away their closer Joakim Soria last night during a rain shorten game against the New York Yankees.  Now, it will be up to their former closer Neftali Feliz to fill the role.

During the off season everyone expected him to resume the role.  But, as spring training progressed it seemed less likely he’d be able to do it to a huge surprise he was sent back down to the minors (triple-A Round Rock Express) to work out command and velocity issues.

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When he was the closer back in 2010 and 2011 he was the type of pitcher that was throw high heat fastballs that occasionally light up the dial at 100 MPH.  This is the first full season that Feliz has pitched after recovering from his Tommy John surgery he had back in August 2012.

Post surgery, Feliz hasn’t been able to recover the same velocity he had back in 2011.  He has been able to get his fastball up to 96 MPH, but that has dropped off to the low 90’s.   If you compare his averages, he was pitching around 96.6 MPH back in 2010 and this year is averaging 92.2 MPH.

He’s been a bit inconsistent with both velocity and command, which are two things he relied on during his time as the closer.  If he is going to succeed as either a reliever or closer he will need to pitch smart and work on his command.