I have seen the future of pitching, and it is Neftali Feliz.
You can keep your Strasburg, if you can sign him. Give me Rangers rookie right-hander Feliz, whose Major League debut was more like a coronation. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen some dominant pitchers make an instant impact the past few years Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer come to mind Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen anything like FelizÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stuff. The guy is a force of nature.
Basic baseball physics is like this: The bigger difference between your fastball and off-speed stuff, the harder you are to hit. Johan Santana remains great despite the fact that he no longer throws in the mid-upper 90s. He can work down around 89-91 mph, as long as his motion is the same and that magnificent changeup comes in around 80-84.
Now what if I told you that Neftali brings his fastball right around 100 every time? While watching his debut on Monday night, when he came on in relief against the AÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, I was impressed when he hit 99 on the gun no fewer than eight times. Fangraphs has the whole thing mapped out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ check it out, impressive stuff.
I was even more awed when Neftali hit 101 on his final pitch. But listen, you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just throw fast in this game. Bobby Parnell threw 100 this year but has no out pitch. Joel Zumaya, I believe, got up close to 104, but he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really pitch, and he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stay healthy. He was a gimmick. Neftali is the real deal.