Neftali Feliz was born on May 2, 1988 in Azua, Dominican Republic, is a Dominican baseball relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball.
Feliz holds the major league record for saves by a rookie in a single season, with 40. He was the Rangers best prospect according to Baseball America, and one of the top five pitching prospects in baseball at the start of 2010. His best pitch is his fastball, which consistently hits the upper-90s and can reach triple digits.
Feliz was signed by the Atlanta Braves as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. On July 31, 2007 he was traded from the Braves to the Texas Rangers along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Elvis Andrus for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.
Feliz was called up to the majors for the first time on August 2, 2009. He made his debut on August 3, striking out four in two scoreless innings. He finished the season with a 1–0 record and a 1.74 earned run average in 20 games, with 39 strikeouts and two saves in 31 innings pitched.
After two blown saves by Frank Francisco to start the 2010 baseball season, Feliz was promoted to closer to replace Francisco.
On July 4, 2010, Feliz was named to his first MLB All-Star Game. He was accompanied by teammates Vladimir Guerrero, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and the newly acquired Cliff Lee. However, Feliz did not pitch during the game.
On September 25, 2010, Feliz earned his 38th save of the season, breaking the single-season record for saves by a rookie. He would go on to finish the season with 40. The previous record was held by Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Seattle Mariners, with 37 in in 2000.
Feliz notched the final three outs of Game 6 of the 2010 American League Championship Series, sending the Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. On October 30, 2010, Feliz went three up three down to close a 4–2 Rangers win in game 3 of the World Series, making him the second youngest player to record a save in the World Series.
On November 15, 2010, Feliz was awarded the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Award, the first Ranger to win the award since Mike Hargrove in 1974. He beat out Tigers’ center fielder Austin Jackson, and Twins’ third baseman Danny Valencia.
He was also named the closer on Baseball America’s 2010 All-Rookie Team and the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.