With Danny Figueroa on the pine, Paco took over for him in center field and thrived and now that Danny has returned to the ‘Canes line up, it has made Paco that much of a better player.
Although Paco Figueroa had his own injury troubles during his junior season, the move to center field from his primary position at shortshop, showed potential suitors in the next Major League Baseball draft that he is a versatile player.
But he surely missed playing with Danny, but with the reality of the coming draft that will separate them more than likely, Paco is ready for that possibility.
"I grew up playing with my brother, but the last two summers we played on different teams," Paco said.
With Danny back in the line up in centerfield, Paco has moved to rightfield where he has thrived.
Through 33 games this year, Paco is hitting .353 with two home runs, 21 RBI, 43 runs scored, 47 hits, and 17 stolen bases.
He hits in the key number two spot in the line up and creates many opportunities for Ryan Braun and the rest of his teammates that hit behind him because he gets on base so frequently with a .423 on-base percentage.
He is second on the team with runs, but his bat is what got UM off the schnide following consecutive losses to Georgia Tech when his single drove in Danny to give Miami it's only run a 1-0 win over Oral Roberts on Thursday.
"Baseball is a weird game," Paco said. "Who would have thought that first inning would produce the only run. We are super confident with Cesar (Carrillo) on the mound. But as hitters, we have to do more."
But with all the success that Paco has had this season eclipsing his previous highs in every major category through only half of the season, he felt his brother's pain last season.
"It was real hard because he would be real down watching us play, but not able to play himself," Paco said. "I had to help him stay up mentally and he's really coming along great this year."
Nothing, however, is more important to Paco than finally bringing home the ring he's smelled, but not yet eaten at dinner for the team he grew up coming to as a kid and throughout his high school career at Gulliver Prep just down the road from UM.
"I've been coming to UM games since I was a kid," Paco said. "This is the one school that my brother and I wanted to come to. We committed here immediately after they offered us."
And that ring, that ring he's sniffed, but still hasn't eaten yet awaits him.
"I'm really excited about this team and really want to leave with a ring," Paco said. "Tasting it is not enough. We got to Omaha the last two years, but haven't brought it home. I know this team can go all the way."
Miami resumes action Friday night on the road against Virginia Tech. Miami is currently ranked #13 in the country with a 24-9 record.
Paco Figueroa Leads Team in SB
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