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Neftali Feliz / RHP / closer

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Neftali Feliz is ranked as one of the best prospects in the game. And after watching the Dominican right hander pitch, it's easy to see why.

He owns a fastball that touches 100 mph and can be unhittable. Neftali can also break off a devastating curveball in the low 80s. Feliz' third pitch is an upper 80s changeup that would pass as a good 2-seamer for most pitchers. Feliz is currently dominating out of the Texas bullpen, but is still looked at as a future starting pitcher. 8/19/09 CSJ

*fastball(95-100), curve(80-82), changeup(89)

 

C.J. Wilson / LHP / starter

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C.J. claims that he throws a legit gyroball. I still don't know exactly what this "gyroball" is supposed to be, but Wilson does throw a few different breaking pitches that could confuse both batters and pitch charters.

Wilson begins most at-bats with his low 90s fastball, good velocity for a lefthanded pitcher. Then he goes to his breaking stuff. As a starting pitcher in 2010, Wilson has relied on his cutter to get outs. He will work both sides of the plate with it, to RHs and LHs. Wilson still owns a standard looking slider and curveball, pitches he'll mix in often. He has also brought his changeup back into the fold as more than just a show pitch. The changeup is fairly straight and even seems to cut gloveside at times.

Wilson reads the Tao Te Ching regularly, and considers himself straight-edge. XXX. 10/4/10 CSJ

*fastball(88-93), cutter(83-89), changeup(81-84), slider(80-84), curve(75-79)

Frank Francisco / RHP / setup reliever

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Francisco throws a fastball, splitter, and curveball. He has good velocity on his fastball, though it's very straight. His curve is a powerful 12 to 6 breaking ball, usually thrown hard in the upper 70s. His splitter can be fairly straight at times and act like a changeup, but it gets enough velocity difference from his fastball to be effective. 9/16/09 CSJ

*fastball(91-96), splitter(85-88), curve(77-80)

Scott Feldman / RHP / starter

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Feldman completely remade himself in 2008. In 2007, he was a sidearmer, but now he is throwing from a high 3/4 arm angle, and delivering a 12-6 curveball. His fastball still gets some tailing action and he throws lots of cutters off of it. His fourth pitch is a sinking changeup. He's obviously going to do whatever it might take to stay in the big leagues. 3/6/09 CSJ

*fastball(88-93), cutter(87-92), curve(71-78), changeup(80-85)

Matt Harrison / LHP / starter-reliever

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Harrison is a big, hard throwing lefthander. His fastball sits in the low-90s and can get some sinking movement. Despite the velocity, he's not overpowering. Harrison will mix in sharp sliders and straight changeups. He'll use his changeup to both RHs and LHs. Harrison has thrown a AA no-hitter and owns the distinction of being traded for Mark Teixeira. 8/6/08 CSJ

*fastball(87-95), changeup(79-83), slider(82-87), curve(76-77)

Doug Mathis / RHP / reliever

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Mathis has a basic starting pitcher's repertoire. He throws a 4-seam fastball in the low-90s and a 2-seamer a few mph slower. Mathis will mix in two different breaking balls; a slow 12-6 type curve, and a sharper slider. Dougie also shows a straight changeup to LHs. 6/16/08 CSJ

*fastball(88-91), slider(83-85), curve(73-78), changeup(81-83)

Warner Madrigal / RHP / reliever

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Madrigal is a hard thrower out of the mold of his teammate, Frank Francisco. Warner throws a hard, mid-90s fastball, a splitter, and a slider. His splitter can often look like a changeup when he overthrows it. 8/7/08 CSJ

*fastball(93-96), splitter(84-88), slider(84-88)

Cliff Lee / LHP / starter

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Lee works extremely fast and isn't afraid to pitch inside. His fastball is fairly straight, but he is very accurate with it. When he has command, he can be a real force on the mound. He'll use his cutter in the mid 80s on the inner half to RHs, and sometimes away to LHs. Cliff prefers to use his curveball to LHs, dropping it down and away. He also throws a straight changeup that can sail on him. Lee had a very up-and-down beginning to his career, but has put it all together since 2008. 10/6/10 CSJ

*fastball(87-93), cutter(84-89), curve(73-78), changeup(82-85)

Colby Lewis / RHP / starter

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Lewis was a 1st round draft pick in 1999, but his career path since then certainly hasn't been an easy one. Colby began his pro career by dominating minor league hitters and showing an ability to miss bats and log innings. However, the Major Leagues proved to be extremely difficult, and Lewis posted an incredible 7.30 ERA in 26 starts in 2003. I was in attendance in Anaheim for his last start of that season, when he won his 10th game and actually finished the season with a winning record despite that ghastly ERA. 2004 proved to be even worse however, as Lewis tore his rotator cuff after just three April starts. The Tigers and A's each gave him a shot at a comeback, but nothing seemed to work. That's when Colby took his big chance and left for Japan. He earned a spot in the Hiroshima Carp rotation and made the most of it, leading the league in strikeouts in both '08 and '09. The Rangers gave him another shot this year and he picked up right where he left off in Japan. Ironically, Lewis finished 2010 with a losing record despite pitching to a 3.72 ERA in 32 starts.

Lewis is a fastball/breaking ball pitcher. His standard strategy against RHs is to throw a fastball/slider combination. He'll work both sides of the plate with the fastball and spin sliders away. Against LHs, Lewis will try and backdoor his curveball to get ahead, work the fastball, and then bury the curve at the hitter's back ankle to finish him off. Colby owns a changeup as well, but rarely uses it. For example, in Game Six of the 2010 ALCS, Lewis threw just one changeup in his eight innings against the Yankees. 10/23/10 CSJ

*fastball(86-92), slider(81-87), curve(76-80), change(85)

Alexi Ogando / RHP / reliever

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Ogando is quite a story. In 2004, Ogando "married" a Dominican woman so that she could gain entry into the United States. As part of this human trafficking scam, Ogando was to receive $3,000. Instead, the DHS got suspicious, questioned Ogando about it, he admitted everything, and was denied his visa,.... for 5 years. So, from 2005 through 2009, Ogando toiled in the Domincan Leagues while he waited for the year he'd be allowed to reenter the USA.

2010 was finally that year, and Ogando has taken full advantage. He dominated AA and AAA, then earned the win in each of his first three appearances for the Rangers. Alexi is gifted with an arm that produces a fastball that can fly in the upper 90s, and that is really all he needs. Ogando will also spin a low-80s slider and a hard changeup.

Ogando never saw a penny of that $3,000 he was owed but from on he shouldn't have a problem providing for his family with his Major League salary. 9/6/10 CSJ

*fastball(95-98), slider(83-84), changeup(88)

Derek Holland / LHP / starter

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Holland is a hard throwing left hander from Ohio. He was drafted out of community college in Alabama, and put together two dominating minor league seasons before Baseball America named him Texas' second best prospect.

His fastball consistently flies between 92 to 94 MPH, with some decent arm side run. He backs that up with a slider that appears to get good sweeping action and a sinking changeup. Derek will mix in the occasional slow curveball as well. 8/19/09 CSJ

*fastball(89-94), slider(78-83), changeup(81-85), curve(72)

Tommy Hunter / RHP / starter

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Hunter is a big man. He muscles a fastball that can touch 95 mph, but he usually pitches in the low 90s. Tommy's primary weapon is his cutter. He can dart this pitch inside on the bat handle of LHs, or get some weak contact out of swinging RHs. Hunter also throws a hard curveball that he'll vary the velocity and tilt with. Hunter will throw a changeup to try and keep batters honest, but it's just a show pitch.

Hunter was a supplemental first round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Alabama. Hunter then rose through the minor league ranks quickly by showing good command at every level.

Little Tommy won back-to-back Junior Olympic judo championships when he was 11 and 12 years old. Hunter then went on to play for USA Baseball in 2006, where he won yet another international championship. 10/10/10 CSJ

*fastball(90-95), cutter(88-91), curve(76-83), changeup(85-86)

Darren O'Day / RHP / setup reliever

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O'Day deals a moving fastball and slider, both from a 1/2 arm angle. The velocity on his fastball is lacking, but it's the sidearm motion that creates enough deception to get outs. His slider seems surprisingly flat compared to other sidewinders. 8/19/09 CSJ

*fastball(83-88), slider(75-79)

Dustin Nippert / RHP / starter-reliever

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Nippert shows a big arm at times, often touching the mid 90s with his fastball. Dustin has gotten more and more comfortable with his changeup and will use it often these days, even to RHs. Nippert has a good 12 to 6 curveball and may still throw a few soft sliders. 9/6/10 CSJ

*fastball(89-95), changeup(80-87), curve(74-79), slider(80)


 


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