Bard or Feliz?

ESPN has a video piece wonder which converted reliever will be a better starting pitcher, Daniel Bard of the Red Sox or Neftali Feliz of the Rangers.

(I didn’t watch the clip. It’s here if you’d like to see it.)

There are multiple factors to determine which pitcher is the better option for fantasy players and is likely to be better for his respective team on the field.

Let’s take a look.

Minor league success/failure.

Bard was a terrible starter in the minors—stats.

Feliz was a good starter in the minors—stats.

Obviously that doesn’t mean that either pitcher is going to be good or bad as a starter in the big leagues, but the best determinative factor in how a player will do in the future is how he did in the past.

Feliz, as a starter in the Braves and Rangers organizations put up excellent stats across the board with a low ERA regularly under 3, massive strikeout/innings pitched numbers and good control.

Bard was not good as a starting pitcher.

He had no idea where the ball was going; he walked far more batters that innings pitched; he didn’t strike anyone out.

As relievers, both were good. Feliz was able to handle closing whereas Bard wasn’t. Once he moved to the bullpen in Double-A, Bard was lights out. He racked up the strikeouts, threw strikes and had excellent hits/innings pitched ratios.

The main difference is this: Bard was bad as a starter and good as a reliever but unable to close; Feliz was good as a starter and a closer in the big leagues for a team that won back-to-back pennants.

Stuff.

Bard and Feliz both have the aresnal to be good starting pitchers.

Bard has a high-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup. As a reliever, the changeup was rarely used but he’ll have to use it as a starter. It’s a touch-and-feel pitch that requires timing, concentration, the same fastball arm action and command.

Feliz has a high-90s four seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a changeup and a slider. It’s a starter’s repertoire.

Injury history.

Health wise, Bard hasn’t had any issues in his three years in the big leagues; Feliz on the other hand missed two weeks in late April-early May of the 2011 season with shoulder inflammation possibly caused by the haphazard non-decision of “will he start or relieve?” the Rangers pulled in spring training of 2011.

The Rangers are generally savvy and gutsy with their pitchers, but the wishy-washy “we’ll let him start in the spring, then decide” was absurd. Now, with Joe Nathan onboard, the decision was smartly made in the winter for Feliz to start, period.

Limits.

The Rangers and Red Sox aren’t going to push either pitcher too hard, but the Rangers are more flexible with their innings limits and pitch counts than the Red Sox are.

It’s been an ongoing debate as to which club’s development apparatus is better. The Red Sox build their pitchers up gradually; the Rangers push their young starters deeper into games with higher pitch counts.

It’s hard to argue with either given their success rates. The Red Sox developed both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz using their techniques and gradual buildups; the Rangers have developed Matt Harrison and Derek Holland and they’ve converted Alexi Ogando and C.J. Wilson from the bullpen to the rotation successfully.

The Red Sox moved Derek Lowe from the bullpen to the rotation, but that was ten years ago and it was before the new, stat/study-heavy regime took command.

If you’re looking for greater depth, Feliz is more likely to pitch 180 innings than Bard is. Bard will be handled very carefully. Feliz will be free form.

Team needs.

The Rangers are deep enough in their rotation—even with the departure of Wilson—to keep an eye on Feliz and not feel the need to bend the rules in order to win.

The Red Sox aren’t in that position. Their rotation is notoriously short after Josh Beckett and Lester. Buchholz is returning from a fracture in his back and they’re having an audition for the fifth starter between foundlings, journeyman and eventually Daisuke Matsuzaka.

With the way both teams are constructed, that the Rangers are more cohesive and organized and the Red Sox still in the middle of what can only be described as chaos, it’s clear that the better choice and higher immediate upside is Feliz.

Paul Lebowitz’s 2012 Baseball Guide is now available.

Click here for a full sample of team predictions/projections. My book is now available on Kindle, Smashwords and Lulu with other outlets on the way.

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  1. #1 by DirtyWater on March 11, 2012 - 1:15 am

    Chaos? What chaos?

    Red Sox got a new GM who made a few decent moves, no knee jerk dumpings that will cost them salary in the long run.

    Red Sox hired a new coach. So what? Is chaos described as a total lack of organization or order? Isn’t that why they hired a new coach and GM?

    Red Sox still have one of the most potent offences in the game and the best 1-5 lineup in the game. Go ahead and cry about RF…Ross and Sweeney GOTTA produce more than Drew.

    How many teams in the MLB have worse starting rotation options in the 4-5 slots than they do? How many have a frontside with the upside the Sox have?

    Chaos…yeah right.

    Did you happen to notice Bard had a pretty good college career starting and killed the CC league? Did you know the Sox pithing gurus messed with his mechanic his first year with the org? Somehow pitching 3 inning starts in A ball foretell a dire future for you somehow.

    Feliz may have more of an upside at this point but thats only because he has started games. …oh and Bard’s probably just lucky to get by pitching at all in all your chaos.

    • #2 by admin on March 11, 2012 - 1:35 am

      The GM made moves that are indicative of the vault being closed and he was nudged into hiring a manager he absolutely would not have chosen on his own.
      Chaos.
      Ask yourself this: If Epstein had stayed without Francona, would he have hired Valentine? No. And Cherington is Epstein’s protege.
      Larry Lucchino is interfering in the baseball operations in a way he hasn’t since 2005.
      Chaos.
      Sweeney has done almost nothing in his big league opportunities. Ross is okay, but is definitely not a Red Sox type of player. Who’s the shortstop and how much will he hit? When’s Crawford coming back and what will he contribute?
      Chaos.
      Their 4-5 is shaky at best and they’re in a nightmarishly tough division.
      Chaos.
      In college you can get by with little more than a 100-mph fastball and that’s what Bard did. He was horrific as a starter in the minors. I think he’ll be okay, but he’s no guarantee.
      And have you even been privy to the Bobby Valentine Experience? I’m a Mets fan. Trust me.
      He IS chaos.
      Chaos.

      • #3 by DirtyWater on March 11, 2012 - 2:48 am

        “The GM made moves that are indicative of the vault being closed and he was nudged into hiring a manager he absolutely would not have chosen on his own.
        Chaos.
        Ask yourself this: If Epstein had stayed without Francona, would he have hired Valentine? No. And Cherington is Epstein’s protege.
        Larry Lucchino is interfering in the baseball operations in a way he hasn’t since 2005.
        Chaos.”

        If Chaos is “state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.” Isn’t that what the Red Sox got rid of in dumping Francona and Epstein? Lucchino is the president of baseball operations: hence the man who runs the show, not the General Manager who runs the day to day management of the organization. So you hire a new GM and trot out the coaching candidates, everybody puts up their case and you trot them out again to answer all questions. Questions to be answered to the owner then the president then the general manager. That is the chain of command.

        And the guy they wanted for the job would have cost them Bucholtz. Sign the Valentine show and get the guy you want down the road when the fools stop the chaos talk.

        So is that a ‘state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.”? No it’s the opposite of it. They got rid of the problem, is the solution better? Only time will tell. No one can answer that.

        “Sweeney has done almost nothing in his big league opportunities. Ross is okay, but is definitely not a Red Sox type of player. Who’s the shortstop and how much will he hit? When’s Crawford coming back and what will he contribute?
        Chaos.”

        What was Ross and Sweeneys numbers vs Drew? DMc is still holding on by a thread, and Kalish will be there sooner or later to be or not be the Riddick numbers. Since when is an preseason injury chaos? They got a backup or two or six or ten in camp who can sit on the benchuntil he’s ready.

        Who’s the shortstop? Go buy a newspaper and find out. Better yet check out how much time Lowrie and Scutaro spend on the DL this year and ask yourself that question then. Sox got a Gold Glove in Pawtucket by everyone’s estimation If Mike Aviles becomes Nick Green cut your losses the defense will make up for Iggy’s lack of O.

        “Their 4-5 is shaky at best and they’re in a nightmarishly tough division.
        Chaos.”

        Whose 4-5 in the AL East isn’t shaky bar possibly the Rays? BAL? TOR? Won’t go there…NYY? Phat Hughes and ½ Season legend Pineda?
        Gimme a break….Rays wow…the 4-5 don’t score runs too.

        “In college you can get by with little more than a 100-mph fastball and that’s what Bard did. He was horrific as a starter in the minors. I think he’ll be okay, but he’s no guarantee.”

        Whats the difference between college and A ball? Bard started in ABALL thats ABALL…Its not a great sample when they play around with you then fast track you to the pen because back then the Sox thought they had more developed starters ahead of Bard and wanted that fastball up quickly.

        “And have you even been privy to the Bobby Valentine Experience? I’m a Mets fan. Trust me.
        He IS chaos.
        Chaos.”

        He may very well be.but just because you don’t like him doesn’t mean he can’t carry the bags for awhile.

        No chaos. Other than your back round on this piece.

    • #4 by admin on March 11, 2012 - 1:35 am

      Buy my book. Learn.

      • #5 by DirtyWater on March 11, 2012 - 2:58 am

        Buy your book? Why?

        So I can read a sometimes humorous second telling of the NY press’ inane sportswriting?

        Learn?

        What? that I too can cut and paste a baseball guide and selfpublish it, without ever really going to a minor league park? Then declare myself the best baseball writer nobody cares to read?

        Your arrogance is a poor mask to hide your monolithic NYC opinion.

      • #6 by admin on March 13, 2012 - 2:41 pm

        Yeah. Go ahead and write a book with your horrific grammar and misspellings. I don’t think you’d even read it.

      • #7 by DirtyWater on March 14, 2012 - 5:48 pm

        Yeah wow spelling…its almost as if I don’t care…which I don’t..

        I type fast and don’t spell check or review and think more about substance which you haven’t been able to respond to.

        Because if you could it would prove exactly what I’m saying is true.

      • #8 by admin on March 14, 2012 - 6:01 pm

        No, I’m not replying because your arguments are ridiculous. Why are you still reading me after going on such a tirade about how you’re not gonna read me anymore?
        If you think I have any regard whatsoever for 95% of the NYC media after reading my writings, it’s clear you’re either not reading closely enough or don’t have the aptitude to comprehend what I’m saying. I think the majority in the media—NYC and otherwise—are total idiots.
        If you do any research whatsoever into the entire Epstein resignation snit, you’ll know that the biggest issue was power and control. It was a battle between him and Lucchino (his former mentor) and Epstein won. Lucchino was totally marginalized from 2005-2011 and when he saw the crack to jump back into the driver’s seat, he took it. Lucchino had wanted to interview Valentine to replace Grady Little, but Valentine refused to criticize Little’s Pedro gaffe and believed it cost him the opportunity for the job. Epstein would’ve wanted no part of Valentine then or now.
        Who were they trying to get that would’ve cost them Buchholz? What are you babbling about?
        And if you think Bobby Valentine—on a 2-year contract and needing to win immediately—is gonna play a rookie shortstop who hasn’t proven he can hit yet, then you haven’t the faintest clue as to what you’re saying. I’ve watched Valentine since the 1980s and from 1996-2002, he was managing the Mets. I know him and know what he’s thinking.
        You’re talking from the perspective of a Red Sox fan who doesn’t like what I have to say and is angry about that.
        If you don’t like it, too bad. Deal with it.

      • #9 by DirtyWater on March 11, 2012 - 3:00 am

        Oh and BTW I suggest you stop reading your book and learn.

  2. #10 by DirtyWater on March 15, 2012 - 9:42 am

    Well what you can’t seem to deal with is that I don’t accept your word on this and alot apparently other issues. You talk down at me, which as the ‘best’ writer you declare yourself as is a little arrogant. I never had a problem with you until you dismissed my opinion even though I had addressed your points one by one. Did you do me the courtesy of the same? No. Let’s see you back your opinions and let’s face it that’s all they are and as I described them before they are single faceted and mirror of the NY press who you say are idiots. Well I agree to a point, but where do you get your information? You easily and readily dismiss me as ‘an angry Sox fan who doesn’t agree with what you say’ but honestly why don’t you try and be a writer and open your mind and back your story. You can put me down (and that is why I keep back at you-your slight after IGNORING I refuted every point you made and dismissed me with “Buy my book. Learn” is an insult not only to me but to your own over inflated knowledge of the subject.) You wanna know where my creds lie, ask sometime. Nicely and maybe investigate another line of thought before believing your single faceted view is the “truth”.

    If I do research? Where’s yours? Okay simple thing you ignore: whose contract was up? Was it Tito? No, he had a couple of options. Theo? No, he had 2 years left on his. SO who’s left? AH..Lucchino..the guy you have mashing his hands for 8 years waiting for the chance to grab the reins. YOU DIDN”T GET THAT. So who made the power play and won or lost? Your boy Theo….he was being talked about being given some face value ‘VP in charge of nothing really’ position during the season with his new contract…before the “chaos”..YOU DIDN’T GET THAT. Theo made the play for the job thinking as the house was getting cleaned, he could sneak up stairs and Lucchino and Tito get exited without money owed…YOU DIDN’T GET THAT. He bluffed with the Cubs rumours and got called. Did you read how he snuck out to Chicago? Drove the whole way taking a few days off and spotted by a couple of Sox fans in a donut shop? Is that what the winner does? YOU DIDN’T GET THAT.

    Valentine? Yeah Lucchino’s boy but who were they gonna hire? Svuem, Lamont…Mac? Yawn. Those guys aren’t gonna follow on Tito in Boston. Try the Valentine show. Distraction. Big deal. They wanted Farrell back from TOR. TOR wanted Bucholtz as compensation. YOU DIDN’T GET THAT. Farrell kept the starters in line and watched over the minors. Every prospect Sox starter of merit struggled last season YOU DIDN’T GET THAT. The chaos largely was the absence of John Farrell. Curt Young has been described as having had the presence of a substitute teacher. YOU DIDN’T GET THAT.

    Do I really have to go on describing what you didn’t get? Please feel free to dispute any point I made and I’ll back them with facts links ect. If your site suddenly goes down again well…then we know…you can’t deal with it.

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