Results tagged ‘ Neftali Feliz ’

Scenes from Game 3 of the World Series

100_2108.JPGI went on a very unexpected last-minute trip this weekend.  To Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, to Game 3 of the World Series.

Myself, along with our General Manager Ted Tornow and Assistant GM Nate Kreinbrink embarked on a 14-hour drive from Clinton to the greater Dallas area to watch five former LumberKings as they suited up for the Rangers in the first-ever World Series game played in the city of Arlington.

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The Giants and Rangers lined up for the National Anthem, sung by Kelly Clarkson.

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Colby Lewis delivers the first pitch of Game 3 to Andres Torres of the San Francisco Giants.

We were not disappointed, and neither was the record crowd of 54,000-plus.  Former Kings’ first-baseman Mitch Moreland ripped a three-run blast in the second inning, supporting nearly eight innings of solid work from right-hander Colby Lewis.  Former Kings’ right-hander Neftali Feliz then worked a perfect ninth inning to nail down the first-ever Rangers’ World Series win and his first postseason save.  The atmosphere was absolutely electric from the moment we got there to the moment we left.

I recorded some great video of Moreland’s home run, Feliz’s save and a few other things in between.  Enjoy.

VIDEO:  Scenes from Game 3 of the 2010 World Series

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Thanks again to our contacts with the Rangers for setting us up, we had a blast.  Too bad we couldn’t stick around for the other two games.  Let’s hope for a Ranger win tonight in Game 5 to send the series back to San Francisco!

-DL

Following Former Kings in the MLB Playoffs


Volquez ('04).jpgThe 2010 Major League Baseball Postseason begins in just about 40 minutes as the Texas Rangers start things off with the opener of their ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays.  With Texas’s return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 there’s an extra-high volume of former LumberKings to watch this postseason.  Not all of them, however, are Rangers.

The 25-man playoff roster for the Rangers includes former LumberKings second-baseman Ian Kinsler (’04), first-baseman Mitch Moreland (’08), right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) and left-hander Derek Holland (’08).  Left-hander Michael Kirkman (’06-’08) was left off the playoff roster but will probably still be with the club in Tampa in case of injury.

The man traded for four former ’08 LumberKings (Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Matt Lawson and Josh Lueke) in Cliff Lee gets the game one start for the Rangers, who have never won a playoff series.

Over in the NL, the Central Division Champion Cincinnati Reds also begin their NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies today.  They’ll start a former LumberKing in right-hander Edinson Volquez (’04, pictured left as “Edison Volquez”) against the defending NL Champs.

The Reds also have right-hander Nick Masset (’03) on their playoff roster, while the Phillies decided not to include their only Clinton alumnus, outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. (’06) amongst their 25 players.

To my knowledge, there’s no former LumberKings with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays or Minnesota Twins.  I could be wrong.

Given the high volume of former recent Kings with Texas, the Rangers have my backing this year.  Feel free to weigh in on the 2010 MLB Playoffs (and all your old favorite Kings) by commenting below!

-DL

 

Off the Diamond: Tyler Hildreth

You haven’t seen much from the LumberBlog the last two days, and you can blame Mother
Hildreth_TylerDSC_0009(edit4x6).jpgNature.  The Kings were rained out in the finale at Peoria on Tuesday night, then saw last night’s game suspended by rain at Alliant Energy Field in the fourth inning with Quad Cities leading, 1-0.

Last night’s game resumes tonight with another seven-inning contest to follow.  Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-3, 3.01) will start the second game.  Read more in tonight’s Game Notes: 
7.8.10 kingsnotes.pdf

With no new player/coach to interview, I figured it’s high time to renew the “Off the Diamond” segment.  Tonight, I catch up with LumberKings’ clubhouse manager Tyler Hildreth.  A member of the staff since 2007, Hildreth has seen the likes of MLB All-Star Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak, Derek Holland and Craig Gentry pass through Clinton on their way to the Major Leagues.  He’s also a diehard Miami Heat fan and will weigh in on his excitement over the pending LeBron James decision.

Listen Here: 
Tyler Hildreth OTD Interview 7.8.10.mp3
 

The resumption of last night’s game begins at 6:00 PM with the pregame show starting at 5:45 PM.  Listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

Former Kings Seeing Stars

feliz asg.jpgI should have put this out yesterday, but you probably already know anyways.  Former LumberKings’ second-baseman Ian Kinsler (’04) and right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) are American League All-Stars.  Both were named amongst five Texas Rangers to play in the game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim coming up on July 13.

Kinsler is a second-time All-Star, replacing Boston’s Dustin Pedroia on the roster.  Feliz, who was an active LumberKing through early July three seasons ago is a first-time All-Star.  I’m especially excited about Feliz going, as he is the first player from a team I’ve covered to be named an All-Star.

In other less-exciting but still exciting none-the-less news, word has it that right-hander Blake Beavan (’08) has been promoted to triple-A Oklahoma City.  Center-fielder Engel Beltre (’08) had just joined double-A Frisco, so they had apparently reached the “08 LumberKings” quota.

It’s good to be a former member of that 2008 club right now.

-DL 

Cactus League Update – March 10

Stoney.JPGApparently, life goes on without me in Arizona.  Today, Clinton’s current Major League affiliate took on its old one as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Texas Rangers, 6-3 in Surprise, AZ.

No former Kings played for the Mariners, but several familiar faces saw action for Texas.  The golden right arm of Neftali Feliz (’08) surrendered four runs over 2.0 innings in relief of C.J. Wilson, ballooning his ERA to 13.50.  Not a great start for a man looking to capture a rotation spot amidst a ton of talent.  Lefty Kasey Kiker (’07) fared better, yielding only a hit over a scoreless inning.

Mitch Moreland (’08) continues to impress.  He went 2-for-4 to raise his Spring average to .357.  Craig Gentry (’07) went 0-for-1 with an RBI, Justin Smoak (’08) reached base as a pinch-hitter and scored, Chad Tracy (’07) went 0-for-2 as did Emerson Frostad (’05), and Davis Stoneburner (’08, pictured) saw his first Spring action, going 1-for-1 with an RBI single.

Cliff Lee got the win for Seattle, giving up a run on five hits over 3.0 innings.

I don’t think I’ll be able to do an Alumni Update every day as Chris Mehring does over at his Rattlers Blog, but I will attempt to post game results from time to time as my busy schedule allows.  Hey, there’s a lot going on here this time of year.  More on that for another post.

-DL

Former Kings to Watch this Spring

With pitchers and catchers arriving today at both Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers camps, I thought it would be good timing to take a look at some former LumberKings looking to make impacts in Major League camps this Spring.

The Future is Now for Feliz

We’ll start with a man who’s already logged Major League service time, but is looking to
feliz.JPGemerge as the top-flight starting pitcher so many in baseball have billed him to be.  He of course is fireballing right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08), who is coming off an outstanding 20-game relief stint with the Rangers in 2009.  After becoming the first Ranger in history to strike out the first four men he faced, Feliz kept his fastball in the high 90′s and kept Major League hitters baffled to the tune of a .124 opponent batting average.  Over his 20 games, the 21-year-old went 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA (just 6 ER in 31.0 innings) and struck out 39 while walking only eight.  This performance was enough to earn Feliz the Top Prospect ranking in the entire Rangers’ organization and the #7 prospect in all of professional baseball.

There’s no question that Feliz will be on the Opening Day roster.  The question is, will his stuff be good enough this Spring to earn him a rotation spot alongside former King Derek Holland (’08)Baseball America projects him to be Texas’ #1 starter by 2013, but he’ll still need to prove himself over more than three innings to emerge amongst a host of qualified rotation candidates.  Even if he remains in the bullpen, look for Feliz to rise further towards “household name” status this season.

Smoak Rising

 
smoak.JPGAfter Feliz, first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) is the next-most-hyped prospect in Surprise.  Smoak IS Texas’s first-baseman of the future, but how ready is he to be that guy right now?  The former first-round pick is coming off a huge offseason that saw him win the MVP award at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup while guiding Team USA to gold.  He’s also hit .292 with 15 HR and 63 RBI in just 120 games as a pro so far.

The question for Smoak is if he’s ready to unseat incumbent Chris Davis at first.  His glove, by all accounts, is ready.  His ability to hit for power from both sides of the plate will give him an eventual advantage over Davis, who himself has something to prove following a .238, 150-strikeouts-in-391 at-bats season.  Still, Smoak struggled in a transition from double-A Frisco to triple-A Oklahoma City last year, hitting just .244 over 54 games with the RedHawks after shredding the Texas League with a .328 average.  Much like Feliz, Smoak is a highly-regarded prospect (#2 with the Rangers, #9 overall) who WILL be a Major Leaguer at some point this season.  Only question is, how early will his call-up be?

Moreland on the Radar

In the shadow of Smoak’s hype, Mitch Moreland (’08) has been able to go about his business very
moreland.JPGquietly the past two seasons.  A 17th-round pick by the Rangers back in 2007, Moreland started out as a first baseman with the LumberKings in 2008 prior to the arrival of Smoak.  With the future of first basically locked up, the former Mississippi State Bulldog has carved a new path as an outfielder with average range and a fantastic bat.

Moreland captured the Tom Grieve Minor League MVP Award for the Rangers this Winter following a 2009 campaign in which he hit .331 with 16 HR and 85 RBI between high-A Bakersfield and Frisco.  He’s certain to get a look at big league camp this season, but how long he stays there will rest part on his hitting and part on the performances of Brandon Boggs (’05), Craig Gentry (’07) and the recently-signed Endy Chavez.  Former LumberKing Chad Tracy (’07) could also give him a run for his money.  Moreland will most likely spend the bulk of 2010 with triple-A Oklahoma City and could possibly be a late-season call-up.

A Call to ’07 Arms

poveda.JPGFour members of the 2007 LumberKings’ rotation are invites to big-league camp for the Rangers this season.  Left-handers Michael Kirkman (’06-’08), Kasey Kiker (’07) and Zach Phillips (’06-’07) and right-hander Omar Poveda (’06-’07) will all try and show why they belong.  Of the four, only Poveda has spent significant time in Rangers camp before.  Kiker is the highest ranking prospect of the bunch, coming in at #6 on BA‘s list for 2010. 

Who has a legitimate shot to make a Major League debut this season?  I’d put my money on Poveda, who has shown flashes of dominance in Clinton (11-4, 2.79 in ’07) and Frisco (11-5, 4.14 in ’09), but has yet to log more than one start in triple-A.  A good Spring and a solid few months in OKC and Poveda should be a Ranger late in the season.  Kiker went 7-7 with a 3.86 ERA and yielded an opponent average of .231 while with Frisco last year, his best season since his 7-4, 2.90, 112 strikeout season with the Kings in 2007.  He has a chance to crack the Texas bullpen.

Kirkman and Phillips both have tremendous upsides, but both need to show some consistency.  “Captain Kirk” finally found his stuff after four tumultuous seasons, going 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 18 starts with Frisco last year.  Phillips got acclimated to life as a reliever last season, going 2-3 with a 1.39 ERA, four saves and an eye-popping .163 opponent average between Bakersfield and Frisco.  However, 2010 will be only his second season in the pen following an ’08 campain in which he went 8-9, 5.54 in 28 Cal League starts.  Both are probably at least a season away.

Of course, there’s always the chance that a darkhorse emerges in camp this year.  Look out for guys like Engel Beltre (’08) , Blake Beavan (’08) and Marcus Lemon (’07).  You could even see the resurgence of John Whittleman (’06-’07) this season.  That’s the great part about this time of year, you just don’t know until it starts.

The first games of Spring Training in Arizona start on March 3.  I’ll be in Peoria, AZ watching the Mariners take on the San Francisco Giants.  Blog updates to follow!

-DL 

Gentry Gets the Call

Former LumberKings center-fielder Craig Gentry (’07) is reportedly getting the call up to the Texas Rangers today, according to our old friends at the Newberg Report

The Rangers’ 10th-round pick in 2006 hit .274 with 15 doubles, three HR, 40 runs scored, 12 RBI and 24 steals with the Kings in 2007.  He was hitting .303 with 21 doubles, eight HR, 53 RBI and 49 steals in double-A Frisco for former Clinton manager Mike Micucci (’07-’08) this year. 

In case you’re keeping track, Gentry is set to be the fourth former LumberKing to make a Major League debut in 2009, joining Derek Holland (’08), John Mayberry, Jr. (’06) and Neftali Feliz (’08).

-DL

Neftali Feliz Debuts

Well, that couldn’t have went any better.

Former LumberKing Neftali Feliz (’08) made his debut for the Texas Rangers last night, inserted in the seventh with the Rangers leading Oakland, 1-0.

Two innings later, Feliz had thrown 30 pitches (21 for strikes), struck out four big-league hitters, retired all six he faced and hit 101 mph on the gun.

View it here, courtesy of TexasRangers.com:  http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090804&content_id=6233246&vkey=news_tex&fext=.jsp&c_id=tex

-DL

Feliz Gets the Call to Arlington

Feliz Splitscreen.JPGAnother former LumberKing will be making his big-league debut.  Right-hander Neftali Feliz, whose 96-plus MPH fastball stifled Midwest League opponents for 17 starts in 2008 has joined the Texas Rangers, effective yesterday.  Feliz went 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA (23 ER in 82.0 IP) and struck out an astounding 106 batters while walking just 28, earning a trip to the Midwest League All-Star Game and an eventual promotion to double-A Frisco later that year.

Feliz replaces a fellow former LumberKing, Ian Kinsler (’04).  Read more in the article on TexasRangers.com here:  http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090802&content_id=6214378&vkey=news_tex&fext=.jsp&c_id=tex

More to come on Feliz once he pitches.

-DL 

Feliz Heads to Futures Game

Of course you’ve seen them by now, but the 2009 MLB Futures Game rosters were announced yesterday.  There’s plenty of former Midwest Leaguers on the U.S and World team rosters, even some current ones (Brett Lawrie of Wisconsin, Josh Vitters of Peoria, J.C. Sulbaran of Dayton, etc.), but there’s one name Clinton fans should be pretty proud to see.



2008 LumberKings right-hander Neftali Feliz will represent the Texas Rangers on the World team.  Just a year ago, Feliz was still dealing upper-90′s fastballs here at Alliant Energy Field and working on his curve/change.  Now, he’s a full-fledged top prospect, a sure-fire call-up for the Rangers and a Futures Game participant.  It should be exciting to see him in St. Louis.

Feliz came into last season with plenty of hype surrounding his blistering fastball, and he didn’t disappoint.  He went 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA, numbers that don’t really stun you, but also struck out 106 batters over just 82.0 innings.

Ironic how Feliz makes it to the Futures Game just as the LumberKings welcome his Seattle Mariners’ clone.  Right-hander Maikel Cleto has arrived in Clinton and will make his Midwest League debut tonight.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…Cleto was acquired in a Major League deal (so too was Feliz, the Mark Teixeira trade with Atlanta), he is said to throw mid-90′s (as did Feliz) and is also said to be working on a curveball/changeup to round out his arsenal (Feliz!).  We’ll see how Cleto fares tonight.

Finally, my favorite Futures Game moment?  Easy.  John Whittleman’s home run in the ’07 game in San Francisco.  Whit remains the only active LumberKing to participate in the Futures Game since its inception in 1999.

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Whit rounds the bases in San Fran after taking Deolis Guerra (NYM) deep in 2007.

-DL

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