Starting this week we'll rank the Top 10 Texas Rangers on the roster. We'll present two each day.
No. 10: Neftali Feliz
2014 Stats: 2-1, 1.99 ERA, 13 saves, 22 games finished, -0.1 WAR
2015 Projected stats: 3-3, 3.80 ERA, 65 games, 7.96 K/9, 34 saves, 0.1 WAR
AL West rank: The best closer is Seattle's Fernando Rodney (48 saves, three blown). For a rising club like the Mariners, having a reliable closer is part of the process of growing. Oakland has some issues because Sean Doolittle might not be ready for Opening Day due to shoulder issues. Huston Street (17 saves for the Angels) is a quality closer who, like Rodney, gives his team stability at the end of games. Houston had trouble with its bullpen last season and is hopeful that Chad Qualls can help in 2015. Feliz was an excellent closer when healthy and now he's trying to find his place again. The biggest factor will be his health.
Outlook: Feliz regained the closer's job in 2014 after the Rangers traded Joakim Soria midseason. Feliz’s velocity, after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, improved as his appearances increased. Feliz said during the 2014 season that he needed to pitch more to build strength in his arm and to help with his velocity. The club has no problem giving him the closer's role again. With an improved starting rotation and questions still in the bullpen, the closer’s position needs to be solid. Feliz was a solid closer for several years before a move to the rotation and arm problems halted his career rise. He has a chance to regain some lost luster with a solid season.
Projections from Steamer Projections, via Fan Graphs.