2013 Pitching Profile: Scott Feldman
(Photo by Stephen Green)
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When the Cubs (2-1) take on the Braves (2-1) at Turner Field Friday night, Scott Feldman will take the mound for his debut appearance as a member of the rebuilt 2013 Cubs pitching staff. Feldman signed a one-year deal worth $6 million, with a possible $1 million in incentives, back in November.
The 30-year-old right-handed pitcher spent 2005-12 with the Rangers. After two seasons pitching out of the bullpen, Feldman was converted to a starter in 2008. He had a breakout year in 2009 when he finished with a 17-8 record, which tied for fourth in AL wins. He also tied for the major league lead with 12 wins on the road.
Last season’s 5.09 ERA was a bit higher than his career 4.81 mark, but Feldman evolved into a strikeout pitcher with a career high 7.0 K/9. Though he’ll make his first NL start on the road, Feldman looks forward to standing on the mound at Wrigley Field, where he has never pitched before.
“I can’t wait,” Feldman said. “I’m sure it will be one of those things where you get some little goose bumps going and realize you’re in Wrigley. It’s cool. It’s like playing in Fenway or Yankee Stadium.”
Feldman is one of several pitchers profiled in Vine Line‘s 2013 Pitching Preview, available in the April issue, on sale now. We’ll be posting pitching profiles throughout the month, so be sure to check back to see what’s in store on the mound for 2013.
Repertoire (Avg. MPH): 4-seam (92), Sinker (92), Cutter (90), Change (86), Curve (77)
Arm Angle: Three-quarter
2012 Stats: 123 IP, 17.9 K%, 5.6 UBB%, 5.09 ERA, 89 ERA+, 1.38 WHIP
Last Season: Looking for a Return to Form
Feldman is a balanced veteran who broke out in 2009, earning himself a three-year deal with the Rangers and an Opening Day start in 2010. But he got hit around on his way to a 5.48 ERA that year, missed most of 2011 due to microfracture surgery on his knee and wrapped up his Rangers career with a 5.09 ERA in 2012. Though last year marked his second poor full season in a row, the fundamentals showed something different. His K rate jumped from 12 percent to 18 percent, his walk rate dropped from 7 percent to 6 percent, and he gave up fewer extra-base hits.
Plan of Attack: Stay off the Barrel
Nothing out of Feldman’s hand is straight. He’s a true sinkerballer, turning the ball over to create heavy movement and get batters to pound the ball into the ground. But he’s more than a one-trick pony, mixing all four of his primary pitches—sinker, cutter, change and curve—in all counts and situations. He prefers to jam hitters to produce a bevy of choppers and pop-ups. He’ll bust his cutter up and in against lefties, while boring his sinker down and in on righties.
Putaway Pitch: Curveball
Feldman’s other weapon is a curve that has developed into a breaker with more drop and glove-side sweep. He uses it roughly a quarter of the time, and he gets an above-average 35 percent whiffs when a batter swings (up from about 25 percent in 2009). Look for the curve to be thrown away, goading righties into swinging over it and lefties into taking it for a called third strike. Because the curve and change have gotten more play, he’s become less of a ground ball pitcher and more of a strikeout guy.
*Numbers courtesy Brooks Baseball