3. Durbin Feltman
Okay, some people may find this to be high because Durbin Feltman is a reliever. He was a reliever in College – he’s a reliever in the minors – and he’ll be a reliever in the Majors. Like Red Sox fans will love to tell you though, a bullpen’s important.
Feltman, in particular, is important because he’s the heir apparent to Craig Kimbrel. Feltman should be the Red Sox closer for the next 15-plus years.
There’s a reason many thought he’d be pitching in the Majors in 2018 despite being drafted … in 2018. In fact, there’s a pretty solid argument that he should’ve been called up. Instead, he surprisingly didn’t make it past Advanced-A. The reason that’s so surprising is that Feltman dominated at every level he went to.
The right-handed pitcher posted a 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 22 outings in 2018. He went 4-for-4 on save opportunities and opponents hit .207 with zero home runs against him. Feltman also struck out 36 batters in 23 1/3 innings. 36 batters. In 23 1/3 innings. 36 batt… okay, I’ll stop.
That’s a K/9 of 13.89. For a frame of reference, the all-time leader in that category is Chris Sale (10.86). Although it should be noted that relievers tend not to make the list due to a 1000 innings pitched requirement.
Feltman will be an immediate impact on the Red Sox bullpen whenever he’s given the call. That would be thanks to two dominate pitches that the 21-year-old possesses. He has a changeup and curveball but those are average pitches that will probably be used extremely sparingly. The changeup could be used to keep hitters off-balance from his fastball.
Feltman has as a slider that will baffle any hitter. He has solid command of the pitch and its sharp break will be the cause of a lot of swinging strikes. Most importantly is how consistent he is with the pitch. This isn’t a hit-or-miss offering, it’s almost always on-point.
His fastball is utter destruction. Works in the high-90s (but looks even faster) with late movement. It’s been known to make hitters look really bad. Even when someone does manage to make contact, it’s usually weak.
The Red Sox closer of the future is obvious when you watch Feltman pitch. Expect to see him in the Majors in 2019 – possibly even closing out games.