|Texas Rangers – No. 30|
Born: May 2, 1988|
Azua, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|August 3, 2009 for the Texas Rangers|
|Career statistics |
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||2.61|
|Career highlights and awards|
Neftalí Feliz Antonio (//; born May 2, 1988) is a Dominican right-handed pitcher for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. Feliz was the Rangers best prospect according to Baseball America, and one of the top five pitching prospects in baseball at the start of 2010. His best pitch is his fastball, which consistently hits the upper-90s and can reach triple digits.
Feliz was signed by the Atlanta Braves as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. On July 31, 2007 he was traded from the Braves to the Texas Rangers along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Elvis Andrus for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.
Texas Rangers (2009-present)
Feliz was called up to the majors for the first time on August 2, 2009. He made his debut on August 3, striking out four in two scoreless innings. He finished the season with a 1–0 record and a 1.74 earned run average in 20 games, with 39 strikeouts and two saves in 31 innings pitched.
On July 4, 2010, Feliz was named to his first MLB All-Star Game. He was accompanied by teammates Vladimir Guerrero, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and the newly acquired Cliff Lee. However, Feliz did not pitch during the game.
On September 25, 2010, Feliz earned his 38th save of the season, breaking the single-season record for saves by a rookie. He would go on to finish the season with 40. The previous record was held by Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Seattle Mariners, with 37 in 2000.
During Game 6 of the 2010 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, Feliz got the final three outs in the 9th inning and sent the Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. On October 30, 2010, Feliz went three up, three down to close a 4–2 Rangers win in Game 3 of the World Series, making him the second youngest player to record a save in the World Series. The Texas Rangers lost the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in 5 games.
On November 15, 2010, Feliz was awarded the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Award, the first Ranger to win the award since Mike Hargrove in 1974. He beat out Tigers' center fielder Austin Jackson, and Twins' third baseman Danny Valencia.
In 2011, he was 2–3 with a 2.74 ERA, and 32 saves (5th in the American League, and tied for 9th-most in Rangers history). During Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, with two outs, two strikes, and two runners on, Feliz blew a save as he surrendered a 2-run triple to David Freese, who would then homer later to seal a Cardinals 10-9 win in the 11th inning. The Rangers then lost their second straight World Series appearance after losing Game 7 to the Cardinals 2-6.
With the addition of veteran closer Joe Nathan, the Texas Rangers transitioned Feliz into the starting rotation for the 2012 season. His first start came on April 10 against the Seattle Mariners. He pitched 7 shutout innings, only giving up 4 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts in a 1-0 victory. On May 21, 2012, Feliz was placed on the 60-day disabled list due to a sprained UCL. After several rehab appearances Feliz underwent Tommy John surgery on August 1, 2012. In 8 games (7 starts), Feliz went 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA during his injury-shortened 2012 year.
Feliz began the 2013 season on the 60-day disabled list due to still recovering from the Tommy John surgery he previously had. On September 1st Feliz was activated from the disabled list with the intention to use him in low-leverage situations. He pitched later that night in a long cause to the Minnesota Twins, pitching 1 2/3 innings of relief. Feliz finished the season with only six appearances in which he did not give up a run and struck-out four.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- MILB.com Profile