The Texas Rangers, who have developed more pitchers over the past 10 years than virtually anyone, not including all other major league teams, converted Scott Feldman to a reliever at the All Star Break in order to reduce his innings total in 2008. He'd never thrown more than about 70 innings, and was at 100 innings this season, so already, there was a danger in pitching him beyond where he is.
Then an injury occured, and Feldman filled in on July 21, going six innings against the White Sox. And when Kevin Millwood came out of Wednesday's game, guess who was tabbed to take his next start? That's right: Scott Feldman.
Makes sense, doesn't it? The Rangers are now just 10.5 games out of first place- ruining a middling arm that represents one of the few current Texas properties that could provide innings in 2009 and beyond to chase a highly improbaqble playoff berth- sign me up!
It's still not clear what Feldman will be. In his first season as a starter, his control has been decent- 39 walks in 93 2/3 innings- but the strikeout rate does not befit his 6'5", 210 lb. frame- 42 Ks. He's never been much of a strikeout pitcher, even as a reliever, so it's hard to say that will improve all that much.
Essentially, my guess is he can be a league-average innings eater. That certainly has value. Of course, that is if Texas doesn't run him into the ground, first.