Today is Friday, February 14th. You may know it as Valentine’s Day. This year, I know it as Pitchers & Catchers Eve. I also know it as 45 days away from Opening Day.
Among the pitchers scheduled to officially report to camp tomorrow is the man who wears #45 on his back for the Brewers and the subject of this profile…
Acquired as a free agent prior to the 2013 season, Figaro returned to MLB after a successful pair of seasons playing in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes.
Primarily a starting pitcher in Japan, Figaro spent most of his 2013 for the Brewers as a long reliever. He pitched in 33 games for Milwaukee, starting five and finishing eight. All told, he posted a 4.14 ERA, but his stuff predictably played up when he was entering games out of the bullpen.
Here are his splits for 2013 by role.
- SP: 1-2, 6.48 ERA, 25.0 IP, 8 HR, 6 BB, 21 K, 1.360 WHIP, 3.50 K/BB
- RP: 2-1, 2.94 ERA, 49.0 IP, 7 HR, 9 BB, 33 K, 1.184 WHIP, 3.67 K/BB
Figaro has a big fastball (which Pitch f/x says topped out at 98.7 MPH last year, and sits just over 95 MPH) which he compliments with a slider and much less so with a straight change. His fastball/slider combination was fairly effective at generating groundballs. He had a 56.8% groundball rate with his slider as a matter of fact. Unfortunately, opponents hit .290 off of Figaro’s slider last year.
The 29-year-old Figaro, who hails from the Dominican Republic, totaled 77.0 innings in 2013 but would have pitched even more had he not hit the disabled list in late June with an oblique injury. That injury opened the door for Johnny Hellweg’s MLB debut, but that’s neither here nor there.
Figaro was activated off of the disabled list on July 24th and then optioned down to Class-AAA Nashville on August 16th. He rejoined the parent club at the end of August, after John Axford was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Looking ahead to 2014, Figaro may be a fine choice for long man to start the year, but the bottom line in a bullpen without many openings is that Figaro does have one minor league option remaining. As a result, Figaro may see even more frequent flier miles. The Opening Day bullpen might have a job for him, but that hinges on one or more of a handful of factors. Is Tom Gorzelanny ready to go? Did they keep their Rule V pick Wei-Chung Wang? When do they need their fifth starter and would they start the first four games of the season with an extra bullpen arm?
Figaro has proven that he’s capable of being a useful arm, but how much of that he’ll be able put in a Major League boxscore remains to be seen. I’m predicting that Figaro will find himself on a few extra airplanes this year as he travels up and down as needed.
You can follow Alfredo Figaro on Twitter: @Guden45
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez