By now everyone knows that Neftali Feliz is having an incredible run as a reliever for the Rangers. After last night’s two inning four strikeout performance he has racked up 26 strikeouts to just one walk over 19 and two thirds innings.
For Feliz it starts with his blazing fastball that averages over 96 mph and is regularly in triple digits. But unlike another triple digit flame thrower he can locate the pitch in the strike zone. He throws it early in the count, when he is behind (which is rare), and at times with two strikes up in the zone as a strike out pitch. Here I plot the fastballs with the swinging strikes outlined in black and called strikes opaque.
Again he is always around the zone (amazing for how hard he is throwing the ball). If he misses it is rarely by much, expect for up (and those are mostly when he is ahead in the count). The swinging strikes are, as expected, mostly on pitches up in the zone. While the called strikes are for the the most part on the outer half of the plate.
Feliz also throws a changeup and curve. He uses both generally later in the count, the curve more to RHBs and change more to LHBs.
You can see that curve has been death to righties. Tons of called strikes in the down-and-away corner of the zone, and tons of swing strikes outside of the zone. To lefties he has kept the change either far away or very low in the zone.
Just an incredible month-long dominance, striking out 26 and only walking one batter.
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