Tag: Neftali Feliz

Texas Rangers 2011 MLB Preview

Texas Rangers (2010 record: 90-72)

The Texas Rangers won their first American League pennant, but eventually lost the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. Their drive to the Fall Classic was spurred by an MVP season from LF Josh Hamilton, a Rookie of the Year campaign from closer Neftali Feliz, and all-star efforts from five players.

The defending American League champions lost southpaw Cliff Lee through free agency this winter. It seems to me that Lee’s loss, in combination with the loss of several quality prospects they traded to Seattle in exchange for him, will be difficult to overcome in the short term.

The Rangers needed another starting pitcher after his departure, and while Brandon Webb may prove to be a nice addition, he’s more likely to be this year’s version of Rich Harden. I expected the front office to jump on Carl Pavano once Lee bid them adieu, and I suspect they may regret not jumping in on him.

Notable additions: 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Endy Chavez, LHP Arthur Rhodes, C Yorvit Torrealba and RHP Brandon Webb.

Notable subtractions: DH Vladimir Guerrero, LHP Cliff Lee, C Bengie Molina.


Catcher: Mike Napoli

Infield: Mitch Moreland (1B), Ian Kinsler (2B), Elvis Andrus (SS) and Adrian Beltre (3B)

Outfield: Josh Hamilton (LF), Julio Borbon (CF) and Nelson Cruz (RF)

Designated Hitter: Michael Young

The offense will be formidable if it can remain healthy. Nearly all of the key contributors have had trouble remaining on the playing field throughout an entire season.

The attack will again be led by a pair of oft-injured corner outfielders—Josh Hamilton, the reigning AL MVP, and Nelson Cruz, who would almost certainly be an MVP candidate in if he remained healthy for an entire season.

Hamilton has alternated healthy and injury-plagued seasons, but when healthy has produced outstanding numbers, as evidenced by last year’s OPS+ of 175.

Cruz has yet to accumulate 500 ABs in any single season. Last year, he was limited to 108 games by a hamstring injury. His .318 batting average was driven by a 35 percent hit rate—that should correct down to about 30 percent with a corresponding dip in his average (to the .260-.270 range).

Third baseman Adrian Beltre produced an outstanding effort during his lone season in Boston, earning him a six-year, $96 million deal with the Rangers. He has hit .265 or better, with 25-plus HR and 75-plus RBI, in four of his last five seasons. He has outstanding career numbers at Rangers Ballpark, posting a .306 BA and .521 slugging percentage in 51 career games.

DH Michael Young has been pinballed from second base to shortstop to third base during his Rangers career, and with the acquisition of Adrian Beltre he has now been removed from the field all together. He made it known he is not happy with this latest development and the team has attempted to trade him (and his $16 million per year salary).

Whether he spends the year in Arlington or elsewhere, he is a consistent contributor on offense, having amassed a .300 career average, 158 HR and 811 RBI.

Elvis Andrus will not provide much in the way of power or production atop the Rangers lineup (his 6 HR in 2009 were most likely an outlier), but the young shortstop has exhibited excellent plate discipline during his first two seasons in the big leagues.

He will likely hit somewhere around league-average (.270), but his walk rate (10 percent) should enable him to post consistently-solid OBPs. He has excellent speed and base-stealing instincts (65 SB in 2009-10), and should score somewhere in the vicinity of 100 runs with Young, Hamilton, Cruz and Beltre hitting behind him.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler made two trips to the disabled list last year. He struggled to hit home runs at the pace his team had become accustomed, but otherwise compiled strong statistics. He posted a .286/.378/.412 line on the season.

Mike Napoli comes to town from division rival Los Angeles, by way of Toronto. The front office hopes he will stabilize a catching situation that has been in flux for the last couple of years. He has 20-plus home run power, but has had trouble making contact (just a 71 percent contact rate over the last four seasons) and struck out a career-high 137 times last year. He has hit less than .250 in three of his five seasons in the big leagues.

When Justin Smoak was shipped off to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal, the Rangers turned to rookie Mitch Moreland at first base. They liked what they saw of him in the regular season, when he hit .255 with 9 HR in just 145 AB. They subsequently included him on the postseason roster. He rose to the challenge, hitting .348 with 7 RBI in 15 games.

Julio Borbon got off to a slow start last season, but improved as the year progressed. The fleet-footed center fielder was asked to incorporate the bunt into his offensive game and he responded with 17 bunt singles. This year, I suspect he will be asked to steal more bases, as he has the speed to steal 50-plus bases.

Pitching Staff

Rotation: LHP CJ Wilson, RHP Colby Lewis, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Derek Holland and RHP Brandon Webb.

Closer: RHP Neftali Feliz.

CJ Wilson moved from the closer’s role into the rotation and had great success. The southpaw went 15-8, with a 3.35 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, last year while striking out 170 hitters in 204 IP. With the departure of Cliff Lee, he is the unquestioned ace of the staff.

Righty Colby Lewis returned to the US last year after spending two year in Japan (he went 26-17, 2.82, in two seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball). When all was said and done, he may have been the biggest surprise in the major leagues in 2010, going 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA and 196 strikeouts in 201 IP. It was the most strikeouts recorded by a Rangers pitcher since Nolan Ryan had 203 K in 1991.

Tommy Hunter went 13-4, 3.73, as a starter last year, largely based on luck (27 percent hit rate and 75 percent strand rate) and getting more than six runs per game in offensive support.

I have questions as to whether he’ll develop into a consistent winner in the big leagues. His gb-fb ratio sits at 50-50, which isn’t the formula for success in Rangers Ballpark. He issues a fair number of walks and doesn’t miss enough bats to get out of difficulty when it presents itself.

There seems to be some debate about whether Matt Harrison or Derek Holland should be in the rotation, but it seems obvious to me that Holland should be the choice here.

Harrison’s numbers are pedestrian, and his walk rate is trending in the wrong direction. He had excellent peripherals early last year, and while he showed rust after returning from knee and shoulder woes, his early-season performance showed considerably more potential than Harrison has shown of late.

The last slot in the rotation should go to former Arizona ace Brandon Webb when he gets healthy—or maybe I should say, IF he gets healthy. The big righty has tremendous stuff, but he has made just one start over the last two years due to shoulder troubles.

The Rangers toyed with the idea of moving Feliz into the starting rotation this year, and while they have moved him back to the closer’s role the front office has said he will join the rotation next season. While he initially resisted the switch to the rotation, he later embraced the idea of his new role in the rotation.

For now, he will return to the bullpen as a dominant closer, with a fastball that regularly sits at 96 to 98 mph—with the ability to hit 100 mph. He has a good curveball that will cause knees to buckle on occasion, but it will flatten out and become hittable if he does not stay on top of it, or if he lowers his arm angle. His changeup is a work in progress.

Opposing batters get the ball in the air nearly half of the time when they make contact against him, and Rangers Ballpark is not a place where you want to give up a lot of fly balls.

Prediction for 2011:
1st place (92-70)

The Rangers should be good enough to repeat as division champs, but the road may be more difficult. For all of the talk about Cliff Lee, the Rangers accomplished what they did in 2010 without him, and when he arrived he was just 4-6, 3.98, in 15 starts—hardly the stuff of a Cy Young winner.

The offense will once again be very strong, if the lineup can stay relatively healthy.

Ultimately, the team’s success in 2011 will be predicated on the pitching staff—whether Webb can get (and stay) healthy, whether Lewis can repeat last year’s surprising performance, whether Hunter and Holland can develop into consistent performers, and whether the bullpen can repeat last year’s success (when their 3.38 ERA was good enough for second in the league).

If the answer to many or most of these questions is in the negative, then it is entirely possible the Athletics will overtake the Rangers for the division crown.

Top Five Prospects:

1. Tanner Scheppers, RHP
2. Martin Perez, LHP
3. Jurickson Profar, SS
4. Michael Kirkman, LHP
5. Engel Beltre, OF

Scheppers entered the 2008 college season as a highly-touted prospect at Fresno State, projected to go in the top ten in the June draft, but a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely and he dropped down to the second round. He did not sign and eventually played in the independent American Association. He was then chosen in the supplemental phase of the first round in 2009 and signed with the Rangers for $1.25 million.

The club kept him in the bullpen last year to protect his shoulder. While the front office says his future is as a starter, it is possible he may end up in the bullpen for the immediate future.

The big league club needs a closer and he has the stuff to be the successor to Neftali Feliz in that role. He has a four-seam fastball that sits at 95 to 97 mph and will tickle 100 mph when he works out of the bullpen. He has two off-speed pitches which are considered to be “plus” pitches (curve ball and slider). His fastball and slider are both considered to be potentially dominant pitches.

No matter which role the club eventually defines for him, he will need to work on the consistency of his mechanics and his release point. The sky is the limit, whether he is in the rotation or the bullpen.

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Neftali Feliz Named Texas’ Rangers Closer: Generational Talent Wasted in Bullpen

A year ago, fantasy owners and Texas fans alike felt burned when the Rangers announced that then 21-year-old phenom Neftali Feliz would start the season in the bullpen. He wasn’t even supposed to be Texas’ closer—he was slated to play second fiddle to Ugueth Urbina.

We know how that story ended. By the second week of the 2010 season, Feliz, now 22, had wrested the ninth-inning job from Urbina. In 70 appearances, he threw 69.1 innings with a 2.73 ERA, striking out more than a batter per inning (9.2 K/9) and notching 40 saves (good for third in the American League) en route to upsetting Austin Jackson for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Now that ace Cliff Lee has returned to Philadelphia, questions have abounded about the 2010 AL pennant winners’ ability to defend their title with a weakened rotation. It was only logical that the idea of moving Feliz, who was predominantly a starting pitcher in the minors, back to the rotation would spark a lot of discussion.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen—at least, not in 2011. On Thursday, the Rangers announced that Feliz would return to his established role as the team’s closer.

It’s a terrible decision. 

A solid starting pitcher makes a bigger difference to a team than even the best high-leverage reliever, so keeping a young arm with even half of Feliz’ talent in the bullpen seems like a waste. 

Of course, not every pitcher has the stamina and pitch repertoire necessary to handle the increased workload and to face batters who have already seen his stuff. The Cleveland Indians’ Justin Masterson was dominant as a late-inning reliever but has struggled as a starter. The Detroit Tigers are likely to regret moving Phil Coke, a lefty reliever who can’t get right-handed hitters out, to the rotation. For every C.J. Wilson, there’s a Kyle Farnsworth.

But Feliz fits the profile of a successful starter to a T. His fastball would lose some speed if he moved to the rotation, but even if he’d lose three mph and we assume his velocity has already peaked (not likely for a 22-year-old), he’d still average over 93 mph. That’s some serious heat. 

More importantly, while Feliz goes to his heat most of the time (78.7 percent of his career pitches—that would drop if he moved to the rotation), he doesn’t need to rely solely on his fastball; he has a solid three-pitch repertoire to keep batters guessing. His curveball is fantastic: On a per-pitch basis (FanGraphs’ Pitch Valuation has it at 2.77 wCB/C), it would have been the best curve in the league if he’d had enough innings to qualify. His changeup is less impressive (-0.65 career wCH/C), but it’s pretty good for a 22-year-old’s third pitch. 

Of course, it’s understandable that Texas would want to keep Feliz in the ‘pen. With Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison ready to line up behind C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis in the rotation, Texas has no need for another starter. Meanwhile, the bullpen situation looks bleak; the organization has questions about Alexi Ogando’s ability to close, and Darren O’Day and Mark Lowe have combined for a 12.21 ERA in 14 innings. 

With that in mind, keeping Feliz as a reliever makes sense for Texas—under two conditions. First, the Rangers can’t plan on keeping him in the bullpen forever and should at least start transitioning him to a starting role by 2012. Second, manager Ron Washington must use Feliz not as a closer but as a true “relief ace.” 

At this point, it’s pretty much accepted that permanently assigning your best reliever to the ninth inning is a terribly misguided strategy. If a team is ahead by one run with the bases loaded in the sixth or seventh inning, the need for shut-down pitching is far greater than when they’re up by three with no one on in the ninth. 

Unfortunately, Washington hasn’t gotten the memo. In 16 games last postseason (with plenty of days off in between), Wash had his best bullpen guy throw just 7.1 innings, and only once did Feliz appear in a game he didn’t finish. It’s safe to say Washington’s stubbornness with respect to the closer’s role was the reason the Rangers lost the first game of the ALCS. 

Using Feliz whenever he’s most needed instead of reserving him for arbitrarily determined save situations would help the Rangers win, but it would also help Feliz’ development. In addition to giving him experience with getting out of jams—an essential skill for a starter to have—it could allow him to throw more innings.

If Texas moves Feliz to the rotation next spring after he throws a typical closer’s regimen of around 70 innings in 2011, he’s bound to experience some growing pains when his workload suddenly more than doubles.

If, on the other hand, Washington changes his tune and maximizes what he gets from his relief ace by using Feliz when he’s needed and for as long as he’s needed, the Rangers could have him throw closer to 100 frames, maybe more. That way, they could stretch him out slowly and have him make a smoother transition to a starting role in the near future. 

Of course, that’s not going to happen—the team said Feliz will be a closer, and to my knowledge they’ve never used the term “relief ace” in a public statement. Wash is an old school guy, and if he can’t be bothered to maximize his bullpen properly in October, why would he be willing to change his ways in April? 

If I were a Rangers fan watching as my team’s best pitcher is condemned to wallow away in the ninth inning, I would not be happy—yo no sería Feliz

For more of Lewie’s work, visit WahooBlues.com. Follow him on Twitter @LewsOnFirst or @WahooBlues.

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Fantasy Baseball Top 15 Closers for 2011: Neftali Feliz Remains a Closer

The biggest question hanging over fantasy owners finally got a resolution, with the Rangers revealing that Neftali Feliz will remain the team’s closer for 2011. 

Of course, with one solution comes numerous other issues.  Several closers are currently hurting, while others are struggling to find their form.  Let’s take a look at how things currently shape up:

  1. Heath Bell – San Diego Padres
  2. Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
  3. Joakim Soria – Kansas City Royals
  4. Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
  5. Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
  6. Jonathan Papelbon – Boston Red Sox
  7. Jonathan Broxton – Los Angeles Dodgers
  8. Francisco Rodriguez – New York Mets
  9. Carlos Marmol – Chicago Cubs
  10. Andrew Bailey – Oakland Athletics
  11. Huston Street – Colorado Rockies
  12. Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers
  13. J.J. Putz – Arizona Diamondbacks
  14. Matt Thornton – Chicago White Sox
  15. Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians


  • Brian Wilson may be hurting, but that doesn’t mean that he should fall down draft boards.  The injury appears to be minor, at least for now, and there’s actually a chance that he avoids a trip to the DL.  Even if he misses the first week or two, so he ends up with 39 saves and 74 strikeouts?  Would anyone really complain?  Obviously, you will want to proceed with caution, but I’d still select him early.
  • The situation with Andrew Bailey does cause a little bit more concern, though he has proven to be too good when healthy to drop too far.  I know they will likely move cautiously, with Brian Fuentes in place, but the upside of Bailey is far too alluring to ignore.  At this point, I have him as the last “sure” closer, if there is such an animal.
  • Falling off the list is Joe Nathan, who has been horrible this preseason as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.  At this point, he is sporting a robust 11.05 ERA over 7.1 innings with just three strikeouts and four walks.  Meanwhile, Matt Capps has a perfect 0.00 ERA with five strikeouts and no walks over 8.1 innings of work.  You have to believe that, sooner or later, Nathan will return to the closer’s role, but for now it seems like he has pitched his way out of contention from the outset.
  • I know Jonathan Broxton is no sure thing, especially after losing his job for a time in ’10.  Still, for why I am so high on him, check out my thoughts by clicking here.
  • For a recap of the closers who appear to open the season on the DL and who may replace them, click here.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who’s too high?  Who’s too low?

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings:


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Neftali Feliz in the Bullpen, Texas Rangers Rotation Set

The Texas Rangers have a plan as to who will follow C.J. Wilson in the rotation.

While the order has yet to be specified, the rotation to start the season will be: C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter.

No Neftali.

Neffy will be returned to the bullpen; not for lack of his talent in the rotation, but for the Rangers‘ lack of talent in the back of the bullpen. With ample options for starting pitchers, and an uncertainty of what lies in the bullpen, Neftali Feliz is the more solid selection here.

Neftali Feliz was set to make his final rotation audition Thursday, and possibly stretch out as far as he could go in preparation for the season. But once again, it was someone else’s performance that dictated what Feliz’s role in 2011 would be.

Alexi Ogando, the leader in the clubhouse for the ninth inning had Feliz been allowed to start, blew his opportunity recently. Mark Lowe, who came over from Seattle along with Cliff Lee last Summer, has struggled to show he belongs on the 25-man roster as the closer for a pennant-winning team.

The Rangers are set to go with three lefties and two righties, which is a good move.  Historically, lefties have been more effective in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. While these five guys will not likely be the five guys who finish the season in the rotation, these are the best five starters for the Rangers, right now.

Right-handers Tanner Scheppers and Eric Hurley, along with left-hander Michael Kirkman, figure to make Arlington auditions at some point in 2011.

Scheppers is expected to make an impact at the back end of the bullpen with his plus curve and fastball. Hurley and Kirkman however, could make their splashes in the rotation or bullpen depending on the need and whenever the Rangers’ brass deems them ready.

Many pundits are picking the Rangers to fall back to the middle pack of the American League, due to the overachievements of the pitching staff of 2010. I personally believe it’s overblown—whatever the Rangers lack in consistent starting-pitching options, will be made up in quality starting-pitching depth.

So while the rotation is more competitive with Feliz included, the sum of the whole pitching staff would suffer. Feliz will not start games in 2011; he will finish games in 2011.

The starting five of Wilson to Harrison may start the season, but there‘s sure to be many alterations to the pitching staff. That includes Tommy Hunter, who is already shaking things up with a groin strain.  It’s unclear what his status is—all he knows is that “it doesn’t feel pleasant.”

In 2010, the Rangers used 10 different starters; 2011 will be likely be no different in the quantity of starters, just the quality and depth.

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2011 MLB Preview: 10 Relievers Poised to Make the Jump to the Starting Rotation

While teams throughout the Major Leagues monitor their rosters this spring, there are a number of players who are taking the field with a certain level of uncertainty.

Relief pitchers are an integral part of any team’s successes. They enter games in tight spots and are counted on to shut out the competition when it counts.

If that’s not enough pressure, a number of pitchers in team’s bullpens are playing with the possibility of being pulled into a new role, that of a starting pitcher.

As Spring Training plays out, there are a number of relief pitchers out there that may be starting pitchers who are simply biding their time before making their eventual appearance in their team’s rotation.

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Texas Rangers: Neftali Feliz a Starter or Closer? Questions Still Need Answers

The Texas Rangers are gearing up to defend their American League championship.

With the Rangers having questions in their starting rotation,  Neftali Feliz reportedly prefers the closer role.

One has to ask, why not?

Even manager Ron Washington said, “Your heart’s got to be in what you’re going to do. If your heart isn’t in it, we’ll have to make that decision down the line.”

Last season, you had a guy in Feliz who took over the closer role and didn’t look back after two blown saves by then-closer Frank Francisco. Feliz notched 40 saves for the season and broke the rookie record for saves, bypassing Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Seattle Mariners, who in 2000 set the record with 37saves. 

In turn, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Sometimes, major league managers like to tweak things in order to make things work better for the roster. But for Feliz, will one of those tweaks complement his talents or hinder them?

This season, the powers that be want to put him in a starting role. The question is, do you take a chance at the closer role by bringing someone in? Or do you take the chance and find a fourth or fifth starter in the rotation?

There needs to be a reliable closer in the bullpen. In his last outing on Wednesday he pitched three innings, allowing only one hit and two walks, but the big number was four strikeouts.

Is the stretch the Rangers are putting Feliz in working to have him start? The numbers look great for that to happen, but as Washington said about his heart, will it be there?

Feliz isn’t Cliff Lee—not too many pitchers are. The Rangers need to try to replace a body in the starting rotation.

Is Feliz that answer?

When trying to answer that question, one has to ask, will he struggle as a starter on purpose—but not struggle enough to lose the hold on the closer role?

Also, as a starter Feliz may give up too many home runs. Feliz has given up seven home runs in the majors in 100 innings after he only gave up seven home runs in 276 innings in the minors.

Granted, the players in MLB are much better than the players in the minors. However, pitching the equivalent to 11 games in the majors and only giving up seven in a closing role, one has to imagine what his home run ratio would be as a starter.

When looking at the closer role, you have to say, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It may be easier to find a reliable starter than a reliable closer.


Sonny Clark is also a writer for examiner.com. Check out his Dallas and local stuff HERE. He also does an online sports show called “The Couch Potato Sports Show” heard on BlogTalkRadio Monday and Thursdays at 7PM CST, as well as Saturday morning at 10AM CST. Click Here to go to the web page.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Texas Rangers

The top of the Texas Rangers’ 2011 pitching rotation has a glaring absence: no Cliff Lee.  And, unfortunately for the Rangers, the best fantasy pitcher on the team just might be reliever Neftali Feliz

The Rangers came out of nowhere last year to storm to the World Series.  2010 was magical but you have to expect some regression in 2011.

Colby Lewis (ranked 36th in our 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit) proved that a trip to Japan doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a career.  After experimenting in Japan, he returned to the states to put up decent fantasy numbers.  His 12-13 record left a lot to be desired, but he managed to contribute a lot of innings, post nearly 200 strikeouts and registered a respectable 3.72 ERA. 

If Lewis can build on his solid playoff stats (3-0, 1.71 ERA, and nearly a strikeout per inning pitched), we might be witnessing the beginning of something special.  That being said, he is 31 years old, and in the post-steroid era, players normally don’t show huge improvements in their 30s. 

Despite the potential for solid numbers, he’s probably no better than the 35th starting pitcher, so don’t chase in the draft.

C.J. Wilson (ranked 33rd) made a smooth transition from reliever to starting pitcher last year.  With a 15-8 record, 170 strikeouts and a 3.35 ERA, he finished the season as a top 25 pitcher. 

Like Colby Lewis, C.J. is a 30-year-old pitcher coming off a career year. The difference? C.J. was finally given the opportunity to show what he could do in a starting role so he is more likely to maintain or even improve upon last year’s stats.  You have to expect he’d be able to improve in his second year as a starter. 

Two big hurdles: Can he handle the added expectations and what will happen after working a career high number of innings?  If he can pass those tests, he’ll be a nice fantasy starter.

Tommy Hunter (ranked 135th) posted an impressive 13-4 record in 22 starts last year, but there are some red flags.  He doesn’t strike out many batters and he gives up a lot of home runs.  With those drawbacks, it is hard to imagine that he replicates his 13-4 performance.  Still, he is only 24, so if anyone in this rotation has a chance to improve, it is him.

Brandon Webb (ranked 87th) is very high risk/high reward.  At one point in time Webb was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Just look at his Cy Young finishes from 2006-2008: first, second, second.  But, and it is a BIG but, he’s only pitched in one game in the last two years. 

Trying to predict what will happen with him is like trying to predict Charlie Sheen’s next rant.  If Webb can recover his magical sinker ball, he could be a steal.  Of course it is all dependent on him getting back on the field.  As of today he was in camp and throwing bullpen sessions, but there is no way to know if one of the best pitchers of the last half decade can regain his elite form.

There is a battle for the fifth spot between Derek Holland (ranked 70th) and Scott Feldman.  Currently, Holland holds the edge as Feldman is battling back from a knee injury (Feldman did have an impressive start in his first game of the spring). The rest of the writers at The Fix seem to have written off Feldman (not even ranking him in the top 150).  At only 24 years old, Feldman should be able to bounce quickly back from injury and is worthy of watching closely. Keep an eye on the situation in spring training.

As previously mentioned, Feliz (ranked 7th among closers) is definitely the most desired fantasy pitcher on the staff.  He’ll get you 40 saves and over nine strikeouts per nine innings. Expect Feliz to finish around the top five in relief pitchers.

Without Lee (ranked 5th), there is nobody on the starting staff that is a must own.  Your best bet, wait and see if Wilson and Lewis are available in later rounds as they provide nice potential value. The value on the Rangers is their bats, so don’t waste any high draft picks!


Written by Chris Summers exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com

Follow The Fantasy Fix on Twitter @thefantasyfix or for Free Fantasy Sports Advice use our Quick Fix to get help with your team!

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Texas Rangers: Best Three and Worst Three Trades of GM Jon Daniels

At the age of 28 years and 41 days, Jon Daniels became the youngest GM in baseball history on October 4, 2005, succeeding John Hart.

Daniels took over a team that was restocking the roster from the outside via free agency. After turning that around completely by rebuilding through the draft he’s turned around the Rangers win-loss column as well. He led the Rangers to their first World Series appearance last year in his fifth season at the helm.

He’s also well known for setting the standard for getting the most for a player in their prime. He will forever be linked with that trade, but for Rangers fans there are a few trades they would like to forget. Here is Jon Daniels’ best three and worst three trades.

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Texas Rangers’ Player Power Ranking: Gentry To Hamilton, Part 2 of 3

This is part two of a three part series where I am ranking the top 30 major league players on the Texas Rangers roster. In part one I covered players 30-21, which was mainly players on the fringe of the 25 man roster and younger players who will contribute at some point during the season. The players ranked 11-20 are not quite core players, but they are more so components of the Rangers. Every team has a few stars at the top of the roster and average players that fill out the bottom of the roster, but its the middle section of a team that puts a team over the top. The Rangers have a more talent than most in this area, let’s take a look. 

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Texas Rangers: Why Converting Neftali Feliz into a Starter Won’t Be Pretty

The Texas Rangers already have a strong starting rotation. However, after missing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and acquiring no other strong starter such as Lee, it raised the question of whether or not Neftali Feliz should be converted to a starter.

The clear answer to that is a simple “no.”

Yes, I do understand that he posted great numbers as a starter in the minor leagues, which included a 3.49 ERA in 25 games (13 of which he started) at the Triple A level. 

But is it just me that realized that his ERA just went up slowly in his minor league career ever since the Single A level? Feliz had a 2.52 ERA in Single A, 2.98 at Double A and as I had mentioned, a 3.49 ERA at Triple A. 

Some might still argue that what he showed at the major league level in 2010, leading the Texas Rangers to the World Series with 40 saves, is enough to convince them they he can start just as well as when he closed games. 

Sorry to break it to you, but being faced by the same hitter at least three times an average per start is an effective way for hitters to see what kind of stuff the starter has. Hitters can make adjustments much quicker.

Therefore, that would lead into a higher ERA, more hits allowed and not to mention more strain than one would have closing. He also only posses two excellent pitches, and usually front of the rotation guys have three of them.

And if Feliz is already good at being a closer, keep him there.

No one wants to see another Joba Chamberlain project, and we all know how that turned out. He was great at coming in the eighth inning and getting the side out easily: one-two-three. But after being put in the starting rotation, and going back to the pen, and so on, Chamberlain just lost the mental side of pitching, and now he is working as just an average relief pitcher in the New York Yankees’ bullpen.

Besides, there’s no other certain closer-in-waiting for the Rangers and with uncertainly about how the back end of the pitching would be, that would not be a championship caliber team. 

For the best of the Texas Rangers, Neftali Feliz should stay their closer.  

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