Colby Lewis / RHP / starter
Lewis was a 1st round draft pick in 1999, but his career path since then 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 gave him a shot at a comeback, but it wasn’t until his time with the A’s that Colby learned how to pitch. He dominated AAA in 2007, but didn’t do much to impress once called up to Oakland. 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 in 2010 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. 6/22/12 CSJ
[fastball(85-91), slider(79-85), curve(73-76), change(81-83)]
Neftali Feliz / RHP / starter - reliever
As a rookie, Neftali Feliz was ranked as one of the best prospects in the game. And after watching the Dominican right-hander pitch in 2010, it was easy to see why.
He owns a fastball that touches 100 mph and can be unhittable. Neftali can also break off a pair of devastating breaking balls. He pitched with only a curveball in 2010, but has been tinkering with a slider in '11. Late in the season, it looks like Feliz has settled on a tight mid to upper-80s slide-piece and upper-70s curve. Feliz' fourth 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 could still be looked at as a future starting pitcher. 8/14/11
[4-seam fastball(93-100), curve(77-80), slider(85-87), changeup(87-89)]
Derek Holland / LHP / starter
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 in 2009.
Holland has really picked up his velocity since 2011. He's consistently pumping his fastball between 92-96 mph nowadays and has become a winning pitcher for Texas. His fastball gets decent arm side run and he's unafraid to pitch inside. Derek backs that up with a slider that appears to get good sweeping action and a sinking changeup. Derek has gained confidence in his curveball as well and has become a four-pitch hurler. 5/15/12 CSJ
[fastball(91-96), curve(76-81), slider(85-86), changeup(84-88)]
Joe Nathan / RHP / closer
Nathan is a hard thrower from upstate New York. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and is unhittable at times. Nathan uses a tight slider that dives under bats. His third pitch is a hard 12 to 6 curveball. Nathan used to throw an occasional changeup, and may still mix that in. With this repertoire, Joe put together a string of seven incredibly dominant years in a row, until an elbow injury destroyed his entire 2010. 5/15/12 CSJ
[fastball(91-96), slider(87-90), curve(82-83), changeup]
Alexi Ogando / RHP / starter
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 U.S. visa,.... for 5 years. So, from 2005 through 2009, Ogando toiled in the Dominican Leagues while he waited for the year he'd be allowed to reenter the USA.
2010 was finally that year, and Ogando has took 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 all he really 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 now on he shouldn't have a problem providing for his family with his Major League salary. 5/15/12 CSJ
[fastball(96-98), slider(82-87), changeup]
Matt Harrison / RHP / starter
Harrison is a big, hard-throwing left-hander. His fastball sits in the low-90s and can get some sink. Despite the velocity, he's not a strikeout pitcher. Harrison will mix in sharp sliders and straight changeups. He'll use his changeup to both RHs and LHs. As his curveball has improved, so has his overall effectiveness. Harrison has thrown a AA no-hitter and owns the distinction of being one of the many players traded by Atlanta for Mark Teixeira. 6/22/12 CSJ
[fastball(89-94), changeup(82-84), slider(81-87), curve(74-80)]
Joakim Soria / RHP / setup reliever
Soria owns an excellent full repertoire. Everything starts with his cut fastball that batters have a tough time making solid contact against. The Mexicutioner will spot his changeup away to LHs and sometimes mix in a very slow curve. Soria's slider has late break that is very effective against RHs.
Soria has the stuff of a starting pitcher, but has excelled in the closer's role in KC. The Royals stole Soria from the Padres in the 2006 Rule 5 draft. 7/20/11
[cut fastball(88-95), slider(79-84), curve(66-72), changeup(82-87)]
Josh Lindblom / RHP / reliever
Lindblom is a big dude. He stands at 6'4" and is an imposing 240 lbs. The right-hander works primarily with his naturally cutting fastball and downward breaking slider. He'll show a slow curve and firm changeup to give him a four-pitch repertoire. The former Purdue Boilermaker has quickly made himself into a valuable bullpen piece Los Angeles. 7/18/12 CSJ
[fastball(90-93), slider(82), curve(71), changeup(85)]
Yoshinori Tateyama / RHP / reliever
Tateyama comes to the Rangers after a full career in the Japan Pacific League. Tateyama is a sidearmer with good control and maddening slow secondary pitches. Yoshinori likes to paint the corners with his 87 mph fastball. He'll back that up with a 70 mph sweeping slider and a dying 70 mph changeup. The former Ham Fighter has quickly proven his worth in the major leagues. 8/3/11
[sidearm fastball(86-90), slider(69-72), changeup(69-75)]
Martin Perez / LHP / starter
Perez pops the catcher's mitt with good velocity, sitting in the low-90s. He is known in the minor leagues for his changeup, a pitch that gets good sinking action. Perez also spins a curveball that has good depth. Here's the problem…. when delivering both the changeup and curveball, Perez noticeably slows his motion, which tips off the hitters. The left-hander appears to have good control, but when the batters know the secondary pitches are coming, they are less likely to chase. Perez has the arm and stuff to produce in the major leagues, but he'll need some work. 7/18/12 CSJ
[fastball(90-95), changeup(79-85), curve(73-76)]
Collin Balester / RHP / reliever
Balester throws an over-the-top fastball to go with a 12 to 6 curveball and straight changeup. As a reliever, Balester rarely works in his change, simply relying on fastball/breaking ball to get outs. 9/7/11
[fastball(90-94), curve(79-81), changeup(81-86)]
Michael Kirkman / LHP / starter - reliever