Observe and Report: Neftali Feliz Update

June 1, 2009 at 12:15 am (Sports)

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If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that I am a big Neftali Feliz fan. He has more potential than any pitching prospect I have looked at in a long time (Mark Prior comes to mind), and I think he will be a special pitcher someday in the majors. The key word there is someday.

The Problem: Even by just looking at his box scores this year you can see his biggest issue: control. He is overthrowing his pitches, causing an increase in both wild pitches and walks which can fluster even the most veteran of pitchers, let alone a 20 year old pitching in AAA. It is clear that his confidence is hurting, and to make matters worse management in Oklahoma City (Texas AAA affiliate) seems to have very little leniency with him; he has been given the hook before the 5th inning five out of nine starts this year.

The Solution: It seems to me that this kid just needs to take a breather and work out his control problems….With the velocity at which he throws, command should be his #1 priority. Most control problems can be handled through good coaching, and a solid and consistent amount of innings. The biggest irony that I see here is with the Texas management: they call this kid up to AAA to challenge him, yet that don’t let him stay in games and work out his own problems. Demote him to AA, and let him pitch every 5th day, and go from there. As long as he is getting consistent innings, this really isn’t a step back, but a step forward (as long as he sees at least SOME improvement in his command). If they feel like rushing him to the bigs as a closer, fine, but I really think this kid has it in him to become a phenom in the majors before too long.

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