Neftalí Feliz

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Neftalí Feliz
Feliz with the Detroit Tigers
Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 30
Born: (1988-05-02) May 2, 1988 (age 31)
Azua, Dominican Republic
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
August 3, 2009, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
(through 2015 season)
Win–loss record 15–12
Earned run average 3.17
Strikeouts 265
Saves 97
Career highlights and awards

Neftalí Feliz Antonio (/nɛfˈtɑːli fɛˈls/; born May 2, 1988) is a Dominican right-handed pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers in 2009 and has also played for the Detroit Tigers. Feliz won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2010.

Professional career

File:Neftali Feliz 2008.jpg
Feliz pitching for the Frisco RoughRiders, double-A affiliates of the Rangers, in 2008

Minor Leagues

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. He was the Rangers' best prospect according to Baseball America, and one of the top five pitching prospects in baseball at the start of 2010.[1]

Texas Rangers


Feliz was called up to the majors for the first time on August 2, 2009.[2] He made his debut on August 3, striking out four in two scoreless innings.[3] 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.


After two blown saves by Frank Francisco to start the 2010 baseball season, Feliz replaced him as the Rangers' closer.[4]

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 1, 2010, Feliz threw a fastball recorded at 103.4 mph, currently the 3rd fastest recorded pitch that has ever been thrown (behind Aroldis Chapman and Joel Zumaya).[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

He was also named the closer on Baseball America's 2010 All-Rookie Team and the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.[8][9]


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).[10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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 still recovering from Tommy John surgery. On September 1 Feliz was activated from the disabled list with the intention to use him in low-leverage situations.[14] 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.[15]


Feliz opened the season as the Rangers set-up man. He saved 13 games by the end of the season for the Rangers despite only appearing in 30 games due to injury.


Feliz was designated for assignment on July 3, 2015 after posting underwhelming stats and being on the DL for the third straight season.[16] He was outrighted off the roster on July 9 and elected to become a free agent.[17]

Detroit Tigers

On July 11, 2015, Feliz was signed by the Detroit Tigers.[18] He made his debut for the Tigers later that day, pitching a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and one strikeout.[19] After the season, he was non tendered, making him a free agent.[20]

Pittsburgh Pirates

On January 6, 2016, Feliz signed a 1 year, $3.9 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.[21]


  1. Fitt, Aaron (January 25, 2010). "Texas Rangers Organization Top 10 Prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved October 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Texas Rangers' Feliz gets call to majors". August 2, 2009. Retrieved October 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. T.R. Sullivan. "Rangers' Feliz makes statement in debut". Retrieved October 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Caplan, Jeff (April 12, 2010). "Feliz takes struggling Francisco's role". ESPN. Retrieved April 23, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Fastest Pitcher in Baseball History". Retrieved October 10, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Mitch Moreland, Josh Hamilton power Rangers to win in World Series Game 3". Retrieved April 6, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Feliz wins AL Rookie of the Year Award". Retrieved November 16, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Eddy, Matt (October 19, 2010). "Future Big League Stars Highlight All-Rookie Team". Baseball America. Retrieved October 21, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Valencia awarded with rookie honor". November 29, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Neftali Feliz Statistics and History". Retrieved October 4, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Texas Rangers Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Retrieved October 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Neftali Feliz Speechless After Game 6". Retrieved October 28, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Report: Rangers may bring Neftali Feliz back as a reliever in 2013". Retrieved October 5, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Wilson, Jeff. "Rangers plan to activate Lance Berkman, Neftali Feliz on Sunday". Star-Telegram.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Neftali Feliz Statistics and History". Baseball Reference.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Sulivan, T. R. (July 4, 2015). "Former All-Star closer Feliz designated". Retrieved July 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "". Associated Press. July 9, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2015. External link in |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Iott, Chris (July 11, 2015). "Detroit Tigers agree to terms with right-handed relief pitcher Neftali Feliz". Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Helfand, Betsy (July 11, 2015). "Feliz fires shutout inning in Tigers debut". Retrieved July 11, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Schmehl, James (December 2, 2015). "Detroit Tigers cut ties with relievers Neftali Feliz, Al Alburquerque". Retrieved December 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Pirates sign Neftalí Feliz". NBCSports. Retrieved January 6, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links