Former LumberKing Feliz is A.L. Rookie of the Year
Texas Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz becomes fourth former Clinton player to win a R.O.Y. award
Former Clinton LumberKings right-hander and Texas Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz was voted the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year in an announcement today from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is the fourth former Clinton player to win the award, joining Steve Sax (1982 N.L. Rookie of the Year), Ron Kittle (1983 A.L. Rookie of the Year) and Jason Bay (2004 N.L. Rookie of the Year).
The 22-year-old Feliz received 20 out of 28 first-place votes thanks to an outstanding 2010 season with the American League Champion Rangers. He set a Major League Baseball record for saves by a rookie, converting 40 of 43 chances while going 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 70 appearances with Texas.
Feliz was acquired by the Rangers as part of a seven-player trade with Atlanta on July 31, 2007. He began his first full season in the Texas system as a starting pitcher with the LumberKings in 2008. The Azua, Dominican Republic native went 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 starts that year, walking just 28 batters while striking out 106 over 82.0 innings. Feliz was named a 2008 Midwest League All-Star and was also the league’s Pitcher of the Week from June 9-16.
Feliz joins Kittle as the only former Clinton players to win the American League award. Kittle, a member of the Clinton Dodgers in 1977, won in 1983 while an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox. Sax (1979 Clinton Dodgers) was the National League’s top rookie in 1982 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Bay (2001 LumberKings) took home the nomination following his 2004 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.