Neftali Feliz: Unreal Numbers
Neftali Feliz was part of one of the worst trades in recent memory when the Braves acquired him in the Mark Teixeira deadline trade in July of 2007.
The Braves received Teixeira who was gone after slightly more than two months with the Braves. Ron Mahay also went to the Braves in the trade and never played for them after 2007.
Matt Harrison went to the Rangers in the trade and has been 13-8 with them before being shut down for the season in June with thoracic outlet syndrome.
Elvis Andrus has played shortstop all season for the Rangers and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had played catcher till coming down with the same thoracic outlet syndrome that Harrison experienced.
Beau Jones a minor league pitcher is the only player the Rangers received that isn’t in the major leagues. Jones has a 4-4 record between two stop in A and AA ball with 83 strikeouts in 70 innings.
The Braves received more or less two players that turned out to be two month rentals. The Rangers received four players that are playing in the majors today and one that could be in the majors in a couple of years.
Now back to Feliz the real focus of this post. He was 16-16 in four minor league seasons with an overwheliming 325 strikeouts in 276 innings. He also allowed only 209 hits in 276 innings.
He averaged 10.6 K’s per 9 innings in the minor leagues and only seven home runs in 276 minor league innings.
However Feliz has improved on his minor league numbers with unreal numbers posted over his first 12 major league appearances.
Despite being a starter most of his minor league career the Rangers have used him exclusively as a relief pitcher.
He has pitched 22 innings this season and has allowed an astoundingly low five hits. He also has held opponents to a .070 batting average.
One of the most amazing stats is that he has struck out 28 in 22 innings while only walking one batter.
Feliz has posted a 0-0 record with a 0.41 ERA and a completely unreal WHIP of 0.27.
He has allowed only four hits in his last ten appearances and has never allowed more than one hit in his 12 appearances this season.
His ERA was 2.70 after his second appearance when he gave up his only home run and only run of the season. Since that date his ERA has continued to drop from what it was the game before.
Lefthanded hitters are hitting .108 against him while righthanders are hitting .029.
If the Rangers manage to win the wild card in the American League Feliz will become even better known by being featured on national television as long as the Rangers remain in the playoffs.
For a 21 year old pitcher to pitch this well is amazing and so far he has shown no signs of being intimidated by being in the major leagues.
The 6 foot three inch righthander is a native of the Dominican Republic and observed his 21st birthday only four months ago.
One of the most telling attributes of Feliz to me is that he has actually pitched better at the major league level. He allowed 30 runs and 30 walks in 77 innings at Oklahoma City this season.
Since joining the Rangers he has given up only one run and one walk in 22 innings of major league baseball.
The Rangers have six starters listed on their depth chart at mlb.com. That means Feliz probably won’t be starting games this season but they may make room for him in the starting rotation for the 2010 season.
If he posts numbers next season like he has this season we are likely to be hearing the name of Neftali Feliz for many years to come.