A different Neftali Feliz

His transition to the rotation has come with an altered pitch selection

Updated: May 13, 2012, 2:59 PM ET
By Chris Cwik | FanGraphs
Neftali FelizAP Photo/LM OteroAs a starter, Neftali Feliz has thrown fewer fastballs and tried to develop his secondary stuff.

Neftali Feliz 's conversion to full-time starter was one of the most controversial moves of the offseason. Feliz had been used primarily as a starter throughout his minor league career, but the Texas Rangers decided to break him into the majors as a reliever. He performed so well in that role that the Rangers kept him there.

During the next two seasons, Feliz emerged as one of the game's most dominant closers. But the Rangers were still tempted to see how Feliz would perform with a starter's workload. While he has remained fairly effective through five starts, Feliz has become a completely different pitcher.

When Feliz entered the league, he was known for his ability to throw fastballs in the upper 90s with ease, regularly touching 100 mph in dominating relief appearances. And while his slider was a decent breaking pitch, Feliz succeeded by blowing hitters away with his fastball. In his time as a reliever, Feliz threw his four-seam fastball 77.2 percent of the time, and the pitch averaged 96.1 miles per hour.

But things have changed now that Feliz has taken on a new role.