Friday, October 29, 2010

Chapman and Feliz - What's Their Future?

Aroldis Chapman and Neftali Feliz seem so similar in promise. Both are 22 years old. Both throw rockets, both were signed with the expectation that they would be top of the rotation starters. But now, Feliz is the closer for the Rangers and Chapman was lightning out of the bullpen down the homestretch for the Reds. Dusty Baker, when asked about his plans for Chapman next year, hemmed and hawed and finally mumbled something about the Cuban Missle Crisis being a back end of the bullpen guy. For both pitchers. the bullpen seems like a waste of their talent.

A large part of the Rangers' success this season was handing the ball off to Feliz in the ninth iinning. The Fan gets that. But closers can be had in baseball and as Feliz proves himself, they can be created. Feliz started in 53 of his 79 minor league appearances and his 3.03 ERA with 0.2 HR/9 and 10.6 K/9 seem to show a guy that can handled that kind of thing. It isn't like he is Joba Chamberlain or something. Chapman has even more electric stuff than Feliz (if that is possible) and the Reds started him in the minors as a starter and then moved him to the bullpen to get him ready for his call up.

C. J. Wilson knows a thing or two about converting from a reliever to a starter. There is no reason he couldn't help Feliz transition back as a starter. Even if the Rangers don't have Lee next year, consider a rotation of Wilson, Hunter, Lewis and Feliz? That's good stuff right there. Dusty Baker made it sound like he already had enough starters? He does? Can you count on Leake? Homer Bailey? Volquez and Cueto are always wild cards. It seems doubtful that Harang and Arroyo will back. So...the Reds have enough starters?

Feliz and Chapman are phenomenal talents. Don't you owe it to that talent, your team and your fans to at least give them a shot at becoming ace starters they both seem capable of being? Heck, if it doesn't work out, they can always go back out to the bullpen. But in this observer's mind, talent like that deserves a shot at becoming the true studs they both appear to be.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I think Feliz will remain a closer. The Rangers don't have anyone better in their bullpen. Of course, their outlook might change if they can't resign Cliff Lee or replace him with someone almost as good.

The Reds will definitely give Chapman a shot at starting at some point. He's being paid waaaay too much to be a relief pitcher.