Neftali Feliz, Relief Pitcher/Closer, Milwaukee Brewers
Date of Birth: 5/2/1988
Birthplace: Azua, Dominican Republic
Current Salary: $5,350,000
Neftali Feliz, relief pitcher/closer for the Milwaukee Brewers, was first signed by the Atlanta Braves in June, 2005. He was both a starting pitcher and a reliever in the Braves' minor league system in 2006.
The Braves traded Feliz to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2007. He continued in the minor leagues as a starter and a reliever in 2007 and as a starting pitcher only in 2008.
Feliz joined the Rangers in 2009 as a relief pitcher. He had a good first season, pitching 31.0 innings in 20 games and finishing with a 1.74 ERA, 1 win and no losses, and 39 strikeouts to just 8 walks. He also pitched 77.1 innings in 25 games in the minors.
Feliz had an even better year in 2010, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award. As the closer for the Rangers, he had career highs in games played (70), innings pitched (69.1), strikeouts (71 to 18 walks), and saves (40). He had 4 wins and 3 losses and a 2.73 ERA. In the postseason, he pitched in the final game (game 6) of the AL Championship series and he made the final three outs that sent the Rangers to the World Series.
Feliz had another good year in 2011, finishing with a 2.74 ERA and 32 saves in 62.1 innings in 64 games. His one weak spot was in control - he gave up 30 walks, while striking out just 54 batters.
The 2012 season was the start of injury plagued seasons for Feliz. He started the season as a starter for the Rangers but went on the DL in May and ended up having Tommy John surgery in August. He finished with a 3.16 ERA in 42.2 innings in 8 games. He spent most of the 2013 season on the DL, recovering from the surgery. In 2014, he was again injured and on the DL, pitching in just 30 games with the Rangers. He finished the season with a 1.99 ERA, 13 saves, and 21 strikeouts to 11 walks in 31.2 innings.
After ending up again on the DL in 2015, the Rangers designated Feliz for assignment on July 3rd. He became a free agent on July 10th and signed the next day with the Detroit Tigers. He finished the 2015 season with 3 wins and 4 losses, 10 saves, and a 6.38 ERA in 18 games with the Rangers and 30 games with the Tigers.
Feliz became a free agent on December 2, 2015. A month later, on January 6, 2016, he signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished the 2016 season with 4 wins and 2 losses, 2 saves, 61 strikeouts to 21 walks, and a 3.52 ERA in 53.2 innings in 62 games.
Feliz became a free agent again on November 3, 2016. He signed a one-year contract with the Brewers on January 19, 2017.
Career pitching statistics for Feliz through 2016 include:
- 308 games played
- 343.1 innings pitched
- 19-14 win-loss record
- 99 saves
- 326 strikeouts to 131 walks
- 3.22 ERA