ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Neftali Feliz #30 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the ninth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-2. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
In what will be a daily post, we'll talk about the upcoming season for the Texas Rangers and where guys fit in on the roster. It's almost baseball time!
It was a long winter for Neftali Feliz, but it's about to be over. And it probably couldn't come soon enough for the now-former Rangers closer.
As we all know, Feliz blew a save in Game 6 of the World Series and was one strike away from the Rangers winning their first World Series title before the St. Louis Cardinals came back and won the series in seven games. There was chatter that Feliz was distraught after blowing the save and wasn't mentally capable of returning for the 10th inning after the Rangers had taken the lead once again. That's when Darren Oliver blew the second save of the night and the Cardinals sent the thing to seven games.
Now, he's preparing to be a starter for the Rangers, which is seemingly what the club has wanted from him ever since he's been in the minors. When the Rangers announced Feliz would move to the rotation, it was speculated that the Rangers would not have made the move if they didn't think he could be a top-of-the-rotation starter. And he very well could be that, but it's not likely this year.
Feliz has way too much work on and improve as a starter. He obviously has the dynamic fastball that hits triple-digits with regularity, but you have to dial that back when you're expected to throw seven innings every start. He'll have to work to drastically improve his off-speed offerings as well as just getting back into the mindset of being a starter — where was as a minor leaguer.
With all the questions that surround Feliz as a starting pitcher, it has to be comforting for the team to know that he's nothing more than a No. 4 or 5 starter this season, which should allow him to ease his transition into the rotation as he'll be expected to take some lumps at times.