Editors Note: Sorry about skipping a day, folks. Thursday was my birthday, so I wasn't really near my computer a whole lot. Countdown will resume in daily format beginning today (Friday).
No. 43: Julio Felix, RHP
Julio Felix was drafted in the 12th round in the 2012 draft out of Pima Community College in Arizona. He stands 6'2" and weighs 185-190, so he's a bit on the smaller size in terms of right handed relievers, at least when compared to several of the guys the Tigers already have in that role. He started his professional career by throwing a single inning for Class Advanced A-Lakeland, before being sent to the GCL Tigers Rookie League team to finish out the 2012 season. He posted solid numbers across the board, especially when look past his mildly inflated 4.25 ERA. He had nearly a 4:1 K:BB ration, which is quite good, but we must also remember that he was 20 years old pitching in rookie ball. Of course, coming out of a community college, he had not faced the level of competition that higher level college pitchers would have, so I think the rookie league assignment was a pretty good one for Felix.
Felix features a 4 pitch mix, including a 4 seam fastball, 2 seam fastball, slider, and changeup. Normally, you don't see relievers with this kind of repertoire, but Felix actually shows modest projection (or better) on all of his pitches. The 4 seam sits in the 91-93 range, but he has shown the ability to reach back for as much as 96 on occasion, with consistent velocity readings up to 94. The 4 seam also shows solid arm side movement, which is especially effective on right handed hitters when Felix is able to run it in on their hands. His 2 seam fastball sits a couple ticks lower than his 4 seamer, right around 88-90 or 91, but also has really nice heaviness to it, making it a legitimate ground ball/weak contact weapon. The slider sits in the 80-83 range most times, and has some projection to it, but it has a tendency to flatten out and lacks depth. I like his changeup a lot, especially when thrown to left handed hitters, as it shows solid fade and run. He has plus arm speed, which sometimes means that the velocity will uptick as he matures, but in Felix's case, I think that it means he will be able to maintain his current velocity over several innings as opposed to increasing the velocity. I like Felix, but don't expect him to become a top prospect, as his ceiling is still rather limited.
I see Felix as a middle reliever with some 7th inning potential. He doesn't have the stuff to come in and be a shut down one inning guy, which you'd obviously like to see when projecting a closer or 8th inning guy, but he does have the stuff to be an effective multiple innings guy down the road. While I was not present at the Fall Instructional league, word is that he impressed with his entire repertoire. I believe we'll see him head to Class A-West Michigan in 2013, with the very real possibility of getting all the way to Class Advanced A-Lakeland as the season wears on.