Reading the box scores every morning is a ritual. It soothes me, makes me complete. While pouring through each game's numbers, I pay particularly close attention to rookies, or the lesser known names. This is partly because I want the inside track on possible breakout performers in my fantasy league, but also because I have an undying need to know every player in the majors. This quest of knowledge has lead me to develop the More Hardball series "Name To Know". This week's showcasing revolves around Neftali Feliz.
Neftali Feliz doesn’t only have a first name that sounds like an Egyptian Queen's, but he also possesses a powerful array of devastating pitches that has befuddled American League batters. He was one of the prized trade pieces that came to Texas in the swap with Atlanta for Mark Teixeria two seasons ago. In the minors, he was used mostly as a starting pitcher, posting solid numbers at every stop. 4 minor league seasons total: 16-16, 79 games, 53 starts, 276 innings, 325 k’s, 3.03 ERA, and 1.19 WHIP. Since making his MLB debut in August, he’s been nothing short of unbelievably spectacular. Through 11 games he’s pitched 19.2 innings while striking out 26 batters, and allowing only 6 base runners for a 0.31 WHIP, and 1 run for a 0.46 ERA. These aren't mop-up innings being logged either, they are crucial high-pressure ones in the middle of a chase for the playoffs. Get to know Neftali Feliz, because he’s certain to become a fixture on the Texas Rangers pitching staff for years to come.