Is married.....wife's name is Jaime.....the couple has a son, Madden, and a daughter, Stella...Graduated from Lebanon (IL) High School, where he also played basketball and soccer...Earned First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors at Illinois State University...Hobbies include golfing and cycling.....follow him on Twitter (@NealJames56)
Went 2-9 with a 4.32 ERA and two saves in a career-high 73 relief appearances with Texas...His 73 appearances tied for fifth in the American League...Notched his saves on 9/13 vs. Atlanta and 9/23 vs. Houston...Retired 51 of 73 first batters faced (69.9%)...Stranded 37 of 45 inherited runners (82.2%)...Signed as a free agent with Milwaukee on 1/30/15
The veteran returned to the majors for the first time since 2009 and posted the lowest relief ERA (1.11) in Washington/Texas franchise history…opened the campaign in Round Rock (AAA) after spending a 2nd straight spring with the organization and was promoted to the majors in late May…led the American League with 8 relief wins, tied for most in the majors.
RANK AND FILE: Had an A.L.-high 8 wins in relief, tied for first in majors (Vin Mazzaro-PIT, Brad Ziegler-ARI)…the 8 wins were T9th-most in club history and most by a Ranger reliever since Jamey Wright was 8-7 in 2008…compiled 2nd lowest relief ERA in the major leagues (BOS's Koji Uehara-1.09) and lowest figure in franchise history…also ranked among the A.L. relief leaders in opp. SLG (5th, .255), opp. OBP (6th, .244), opp. avg. (7th, .180), WHIP (8th, 0.95), and HR/9 (9th, 0.32)…was tied for the 3rd-most relief appearances in the majors from May 21 to the end of the season, most by a left-hander.
BY THE NUMBERS: Held right-handed batters to a .157 (16-102) avg., 10th-best in the majors (min. 100 BF), 2nd-lowest figure by any LH pitcher to Tampa Bay's Alex Torres (.149)…lefties hit .204 (20-98), as Cotts was one of 12 ML pitchers to hold both lefty and right-handed batters at .204-or-lower (min. 100 BF each side), one of 6 in the A.L., joining former teammate Joe Nathan, DET's Joaquin Benoit, KC's Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland, and BOS' Koji Uehara…left-handed batters began year 0-for-33 between Round Rock and Texas.
TEXAS: Had contract purchased from Round Rock on May 21 when spot starter Josh Lindblom returned to the Express…made Texas debut on May 21 vs. OAK, retiring the side on just 6 pitches in the 9th inning...was first major league appearance since May 25, 2009 vs. PIT at Wrigley Field while with the Cubs…surrendered run and suffered blown save on June 2 vs. KC…was first run allowed since April 10 vs. Iowa with Round Rock, snapping a 24.2-inning scoreless streak between Round Rock and Texas…shared Rangers June Player of the Month honors with fellow reliever Joe Nathan, going 4-1 with a 0.59 ERA (1 ER/15.2 IP) and holding opposing batters to a .189 (10-53) average with 7 walks and 18 strikeouts…picked up the win on June 5 at BOS, his first major league victory since July 1, 2006 vs. CHC at Wrigley Field as a member of the White Sox…after no victories since 2006, earned 4 of the Rangers' 7 victories between June 5-21, matching his career high in wins…surrendered just a pair of runs over 10.0 innings and 10 outings in July, with both runs on a go-ahead 2-run home run in the 7th inning by Raul Ibanez on July 4 at Rangers Ballpark…left the bases loaded on Aug. 9 at HOU to earn his 2nd career save and first since April 30, 2006 at LAA as a White Sox…had season high 13.1-inning scoreless streak over 14 appearances from Aug. 17-Sept. 20, 5th-longest by a Ranger in 2013...earned 3 of the 7 victories during the club's final homestand of the season…had a 0.51 ERA (1 ER/17.2 IP) in last 20 G to drop ERA from 1.37 to 1.11…retired 27 of last 32 BF.
THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER: Had a 0.70 (2 ER/25.2 IP) road ERA, 2nd-lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 25 innings (BOS's Craig Breslow-0.56)…allowed just 3 extra-base hits on road all season, all doubles, including a double to last batter faced (Eric Hosmer) in club's road finale on Sept. 22 at KC, game in which he took his only away loss in 2013…his .200 road SLG pct. was tied for lowest in the majors (min. 25.0 IP).
MISCELLANEOUS: Appeared in 43 of the club's first 87 games after call up and 58 of 118 overall…appeared in more than one inning a team-high 24 times…allowed runs in just 6 of 58 games…stranded 25 of 30 inherited runners…stranded multiple runners 7 times…retired 42 of 58 first batters faced…went 1-for-4 in save opportunities…had season-high 4 strikeouts on June 25 at NYY, most by a Texas reliever in 2013…recorded more than 3 outs 13 times, including a season-high 2.1 innings twice…permitted just 2 home runs all year, both against the Mariners at Rangers Ballpark (Ibanez, 7/4, and Seager, 8/16).
ROUND ROCK: Went 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA (2 ER/23.0 IP) and 2 saves in 15 relief appearances for the Express…did not allow a hit to a left-handed batter (0-28, 3 walks)…Pacific Coast League opponents batted just .171 (13-76) with 5 walks against 42 strikeouts, including 0-for-28 by left-handed batters…stranded all 7 inherited runners and converted both save chances…whiffed 42 of 82 (51.2%) batters faced, including 22 of 31 (71.1%) left-handed batters…allowed runs just once, April 10 vs. Iowa, taking the loss in his 3rd appearance of the season…reeled off 19.1 scoreless innings over his last 12 appearances with the Express.
Was signed by Texas on February 20 and was originally assigned to minor league camp before joining major league
spring training at the end of that month...posted a 4.22 ERA (5
ER/10.2 IP) in 9 spring appearances...sustained a strained left
latissimus dorsi muscle in outing on March 31 vs. CLE in Goodyear and opened the year on the Round Rock disabled list...
was activated on June 10 and appeared in 25 games for the
Express the rest of the year...allowed a run in 7 of 25 games and
permitted 8 of 24 inherited runners to score...earned 3 saves in
4 opportunities...posted a 1.86 ERA (2 ER/9.2 IP) in his 1st 9
games before allowing 8 runs in 3.1 innings in his next 2 outings...had a 2.89 ERA (6 ER/18.2 IP) in final 14 appearances...
opponents batted .262...posted a 2.65 ERA (5 ER/17.0 IP) in 13
games at Dell Diamond and a 6.75 (11 ER/14.2 IP) in 12 road
contests...had season highs of 2.1 innings and 4 strikeouts on
July 22 vs. OMA.
Was released by New York (AL) on February 16 following
a minor league deal on November 30, 2010...did not pitch the
rest of the year.
Spent entire season on Indianapolis
(AAA) disabled list recovering from left elbow surgery after signing a minor league contract with Pittsburgh on December 30,
Made a total of 31 relief appearances between Chicago (NL) and Triple-A Iowa in an injury-shortened season...Was a member
of Chicago's Opening Day roster...Stranded 13 of his 14 inherited runners while pitching with the Cubs, while pitching less than 1.0 inning in 11 of his 19
outings...Was scored upon once in his first eight appearances (3.0ip)...Allowed one run and suffered the loss on 4/7 at Houston...Was charged with three
runs and suffered his second loss in final outing with Cubs on 5/25 vs. Pittsburgh...Was optioned to Iowa on 5/27...Was scored upon in just two of his 12
appearances with the I-Cubs before being placed on the disabled list on 6/25...Missed remainder of the season after undergoing "Tommy John" elbow ligament
replacement surgery on 7/2 (surgery was performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek).
Neal spent a majority of the season with the big league club, stranding 26 of 33 inherited runners in 50 outings.
© Averaged 10.85 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched, recording 43
punchouts in 35.2 innings of work.
© Recorded a 4.02 ERA (7 ER/15.2 IP) in 25 night contests compared to
a 4.50 ERA (10 ER/20.0 IP) in 25 day games.
© Logged a 2.81 ERA (5 ER/16.0 IP) in 23 games prior to the All-Star
break ... had a 5.49 ERA (12 ER/19.2 IP) in 27 games following the
© Did not allow an earned run in 11 appearances against N.L. West opponents,
totaling 8.0 innings pitched.
© Pitched on no days rest 15 times, recording a 1.93 ERA (2 ER/9.1 IP) in
© Had a 3.27 ERA (8 ER/22.0 IP) in 29 road appearances, over two runs
lower than his 5.93 ERA (9 ER/13.2 IP) in 21 games at Wrigley Field.
© Limited left-handed hitters to a .269 batting average (18-for-67) ... righthanded
hitters had a .263 mark (20-for-76).
© Recalled from Triple-A Iowa May 29 and remained in the majors the rest
of the season - made his season debut that day with 0.1 scoreless
innings vs. Colorado.
© Tossed 6.0 scoreless innings in his first eight relief outings for Chicago,
May 29-June 13.
© Stranded 12 straight inherited runners from June 27-August 13 (gm. 2).
© Began the season with Triple-A Iowa, going
© Worked a season-high 2.0 innings April 13 vs. Cincinnati, retiring all six
batters he faced.
© Began the season with 11 consecutive scoreless appearances from April
2-May 6 (10.2 IP).
© Allowed runners to score in four of his last five big league appearances
prior to being optioned to Iowa ... posted a 13.50 ERA (9 ER/6.0 IP) over
© With Iowa, went 2-2 with a 4.83 ERA (27 ER/50.1 IP) in 24 games (six
starts) ... was on the disabled list, June 20-July 21, with a left hamstring
© Iowa posted a 16-8 record when he appeared in the game.
© Struck out a season-high six batters over 4.1 innings pitched June 17 vs.
Cotts: Career Review
Finished second on the White Sox with 14 holds, but also watched his record dip to 1-2 with an inflated 5.17 ERA over 70 games. Yielded 64 hits over 54 innings, along with 12 home runs, compared to just one long ball allowed in 2005. His earned run average was 2.79 on the road and 7.39 at home. Picked up his only win on July 1 against the Cubs. Earned his first Major League save on April 30 at the Angels. First batters were 14-for-64 (.219) against Cotts, but 20-of-65 inherited runners scored for a 30.8 percentage.
Developed into one of the most dependable left-handed relievers in the American League in his second full season with the White Sox ... led the Sox and tied for 11th in the AL with a career-high 69 appearances ... ranked among the
AL relief leaders in numerous categories ... limited right-handers to a .155 (17-110) average and lefties to a .206 (21-102) mark ... after
giving up three runs in his first three outings, compiled a 1.58 ERA (10 ER/57.0 IP) the rest of the season ... won all four of his decisions, posted 13 holds and was 0-2 in save opportunities ... 58 of his 69 outings were scoreless ... averaged 8.7 strikeouts per 9.0 IP (58 SO/60.1 IP) ... pitched on back-to-back days eight times
and three straight days three times ... was 2-0 with a 0.70 ERA (2 ER/25.2 IP) in 35 games after the All-Star Break ... limited opponents to two hits in 22 at-bats (.091) with runners in scoring position and two outs ... made 23 straight outings without allowing an earned run from 7/15-9/6 (18.1 IP) ... compiled a 1.56 ERA (7 ER/40.1 IP) at night ... No. 4 hitters went 2-22 (.091), while No. 7 and No. 8 batters went 2-32 (.063) ... gave up his only home run to Jason Dubois on 6/24 vs. the Cubs ... threw 13.2 consecutive scoreless IP from 5/31-6/20 ... combined to throw 11.0 scoreless IP vs. playoff teams Boston, the
Angels, Yankees and San Diego, allowing just three hits ... struck out a season-high four on 6/7 at Colorado.
Postseason: Was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/2.1 IP) and two holds in six appearances for the World Champion White Sox ... stranded all seven inherited runners, including five in the World Series ... struck out Morgan Ensberg and
Mike Lamb in Game 1 of the World Series to protect a 4-3 lead ... earned the win in Game 2 of the Fall Classic, retiring his only batter faced (Mike Lamb) ... registered second hold in Game 4 of the World Series, inducing Jose Vizcaino to ground out with a runner on third base ... was the only Sox reliever used in the five-game victory over the Angels in the ALCS, tossing 0.2 scoreless IP in Game 1.
Appeared in 56 games (one start) in his first full season in the major leagues ... his 56 appearances ranked
third on the Sox and tied for fourth among American League rookie pitchers ... was 4-3 with a 5.29 ERA (37 ER/
63.0 IP) in 55 relief appearances and 0-1 with a 15.43 ERA (4 ER/2.1 IP) in one start ... averaged 8.0 strikeouts per
9.0 IP (58 SO/65.1 IP) ... went 2-0 with a 4.58 ERA (19 ER/37.1 IP) at home and 2-4 with a 7.07 ERA (22 ER/28.0
IP) on the road ... opponents batted .247 (61-247) ... left-handers hit .269 (28-104) and right-handers .231 (33-143)
... went 2.0-plus IP 12 times ... limited opposing batters to a .197 average at home and a .138 average during the
day ... first batters faced were 10-45 (.222) ... was 0-2 in save situations ... allowed just 11 of 37 inherited runners
to score (29.7 percent) ... recorded four holds ... induced nine double play grounders ... threw nine wild pitches,
including three on 8/14 vs. Detroit ... compiled a 0.90 ERA (1 ER/10.0 IP) in April and began the season with 6.1
straight scoreless frames ... went 1-3 with an 8.28 ERA (23 ER/25.0 IP) in 23 games (one start) from May-July ...
brought a 2.45 ERA (4 ER/14.2 IP) into his only start on 5/22 at Minnesota (L, 4 ER/2.1 IP) ... allowed a game-winning
two-run home run to Bobby Kielty in the 12th inning on 6/1 at Oakland ... earned his first victory on 6/18 at Montreal
(0 ER/1.1 IP) ... also collected first major-league hit, a double off Luis Ayala ... tossed 2.2 scoreless IP on 6/25 vs.
the Cubs and 8/9 vs. Cleveland, his longest career scoreless relief appearances ... posted a 1.80 ERA (4 ER/20.0
IP) in 16 games from 7/26-9/2 ... struck out a career-high six batters in relief on 9/18 vs. Detroit ... earned wins in
back-to-back games on 9/21-22 vs. Minnesota ... allowed nine runs over his final six appearances (7.0 IP).
Was ranked by Baseball America
as the No. 3 Prospect in the White Sox organization ... also was tabbed by the same publication as having the Best Changeup in the Sox system ... made 21 starts at Class AA Birmingham andfour with the Sox ... was 9-6 with a 2.12 ERA (25 ER/106.1 IP) and 131 strikeouts in 20 starts with the Barons when his contract was purchased on 8/12 ... at the time of his promotion, led the Southern League in ERA and strikeouts ... made his major-league debut that night at Anaheim, allowing two runs on two hits and six walks over 2.1 IP in a no decision ... posted second straight no decision in next start on 8/17 at Texas despite striking out a career-high six (including Alex Rodriguez twice) over 5.2 IP ... earned first major-league victory in home debut on 8/22 vs. Texas, allowing one run on five hits over 5.0 IP ... his final start came in loss on 8/28 at Yankee Stadium when he recorded just one out, giving up four runs on three hits and five walks ... was optioned to Birmingham on 8/30. Was the starting pitcher for the United States at the All-Star Futures Game on 7/13 at U.S. Cellular Field, allowing one run with two strikeouts over 1.0 IP ... also started the Double-A All-Star Game ... was named to both
the Southern League midseason and postseason All-Star Teams at Class AA Birmingham ... was named Best Left-Hander in the SL by managers and coaches ... would have led the SL in ERA but fell 3.2 IP short of qualifying ... tied for third in the SL with 133 strikeouts, averaging 11.0 per 9.0 IP ... limited opponents to a .178 (67-377) average ... held the opposition scoreless in nine of 21 starts, allowed three hits or less 14 times ... struck out seven or more 10 times, including three double-digit efforts ... gave up three earned runs or less in all but two starts ... allowed just two home runs, an average of 0.17 per 9.0 IP, and none over his final 15 starts (75.2 IP) ... named SL Pitcher of the Month for April after going 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA (3 ER/27.2 IP) and 41 strikeouts ... did not allow an earned run
in June (11.0 IP) or August (13.0 IP) ... also was named SL Pitcher of the Week for 8/1-7 after going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (13.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in two starts ... fanned a season-high 12 batters in 6.1 IP on 5/29 vs. Huntsville ... struck out 11 on 4/26 vs. Jacksonville and 10 on 4/11 vs. Carolina ... was on the disabled list from 6/4-16 with
inflammation of his left shoulder ... made one start in the SL playoffs, allowing two runs on five hits over 6.0 IP of a loss ... was a non-roster invitee to spring training ... mad0-2 with a 4.64 ERA (22 ER/21.1 IP) and 19 strikeouts.
Ranked second in the California League in strikeouts (178) and strikeouts per 9.0 IP among starters (11.6)
and tied for third in victories (12) at Class A Modesto in the Oakland system ... held opponents to a .239 (123-515)
average ... struck out seven or more batters 13 times, with a season-high 11 on two occasions ... surrendered five
home runs (all to right-handers), an average of 0.3 per 9.0 IP ... won eight of his last 10 decisions, striking out 106
batters in 82.0 IP.
Split his first pro season between Class A Vancouver and Class A Visalia ... averaged 10.6 strikeouts per 9.0 IP (78 SO/66.0 IP) ... made his pro debut at Vancouver ... was promoted to Visalia on 8/2 and did not allow an earned run (16.0 IP) over his first three starts ... struck out 11 batters in one game ... was signed by Oakland scout Jim Pransky.