Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz could contribute more than defense if he worked the count better.
Pedro Feliz Fever has hit my fantasy league. Someone claimed the Phillies third baseman from the free agent pile this morning after his 3-for-4, 3 RBI night. Actually for $2, compared to $10 for someone like Casey Blake, it’s not a bad gamble for an everyday player. Feliz has outshined every No. 7 hitter in baseball so far with the exception of Matt Kemp by hitting .359/.438/.513 in 46 plate appearances.
He’s also the owner of one of my favorite stats of the young season. He already has seven walks. He had a total of 33 all of last season and just 29 the year before in San Francisco. If there’s any hope for a 34-year-old like Feliz to break free from the sub-mediocrity in back of his baseball card (career OBP is an unwavering .292), better pitch selection could be it. He’s a much better hitter when he gets ahead in the count, and it’s maddening to watch him look first-pitch fastball all the time. I’m never totally certain how lineup construction works to alter what a hitter sees, but Raul Ibanez, batting sixth, represents a much tougher challenge than most pitchers face that far down the lineup. Feliz has an opportunity to sneak up on teams like he did last night, but the ball is in his court.
Self promotion: A couple of items to pass along. In honor of Harry Kalas, the Greater Reading Film Festival will screen “Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life,” narrated by Kalas, at the R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX on April 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7. I’ve been invited to be a featured panelist for the post-screening discussion. Hope to see you there. Also, look for my column on Jimmy Rollins in today’s Philadelphia Metro.