Top 100 College Prospects: #94, Danny Figueroa

Danny Figueroa was the team's catalyst last year leading the team in runs scored (74) and stolen bases (40) as the leadoff hitter for a team that went to the College World Series. He has started 117 career games in centerfield for Miami and is considered to be one of the best centerfielders to ever play at Miami. Figueroa is currently sidelined with an arm injury. For this reason, Figueroa ranks #94 on our list of the Top 100 College Draft Prospects.

"The good news is that Danny Figueroa is a great player," Miami head coach Jim Morris said. "Last year he was considered by many to have been the top centerfielder in the entire country. He was selected to the USA team and was expected to start in centerfield before his injury. With the arm injury I don't know what is going to happen, but he will probably come back to school if he doesn't play."

This season was supposed to be another great year for Figueroa, but he tore his UCL in his elbow on a routine throw when playing for Team USA last summer. He then injured the same arm in a car accident pushing his expected return date even farther back. Figueroa has been used in pinch-running circumstances this year, but could be sidelined for the remainder of the year because of the slow recovery process. It is likely that Figueroa will receive a medical redshirt this season.

"When healthy," Morris said, "our assistant coach Gino DiMare considers him the best centerfielder to have ever played at the University of Miami and there have been some great ones. He gets great jumps on the ball, he can really run. His greatest strength is his speed on the base paths. He can swing the bat well and has the chance to be a very, very good player at the next level because he knows how to play the game. If you combine that with his speed it is a very good combination."

In 2003 Figueroa batted .325 with 77 hits (66 singles) and an on-base percent of .460. With 43 walks and being hit 17 times he knows how to get on base. He is a very solid bunter as well. As a freshman in 2002 he batted .300 with 57 hits (53 singles) and an on-base percent of .397 and was second on the team in stolen bases with 16. His solid freshman season was rewarded by being named Rookie of the Year by the coaching staff.

"My role last year as a leadoff hitter was to get on base and try to create a spark for the team," Figueroa said. "This year hasn't been easy. You learn a lot from the dugout, but its tough sitting every game wanting to be out there. I have to take it one step at a time and I am rehabbing as much as I can to get back out there. From the dugout I try to stay involved and help the team get up. I try to keep the energy up from the top step of the dugout. I have been teaching some of the young outfielders the position and talking with my brother a lot who took over at centerfield after he has been primarily an infielder."

Figueroa was a four-year letter winner at Gulliver Prep School in Miami, Florida. He batted .420 with two homeruns and 36 stolen bases during his senior season earning first-team All-Dade County by the Miami Herald. As a junior at Gulliver Prep he batted .489 with six home runs and 41 RBI and was named to the first-team All-State by the Miami Herald. Following his senior season the Atlanta Braves, a team that he has followed throughout his childhood, selected him in the 48th round.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

R

BB

SO

SB

2002

Miami, FL

.300

190

57

3

1

0

16

37

27

41

16

2003

Miami, FL

.325

237

77

6

2

3

28

74

43

44

40



Batting and Power: Figueroa is a spray hitter and has the ability to take pitches the opposite way when needed. He also is a great bunter and can beat out bunts for base hits, a lost art in today's MLB.

Base Running and Speed: Figueroa has great speed on the base paths and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. With his speed he could be a guy that could see time as a pinch runner at the MLB level.

Defense: Not blessed with a great arm, but makes up for it with great speed. In the outfield he is good at running towards the wall as well as side-to-side.

Projection: He doesn't have great power so it could be tough to crack MLB lineups. Although another South Florida baseball star, Juan Pierre, proved that you don't have to have power to play in the major leagues. With Figueroa's speed, defense, and knowledge of the game he could become a solid player in the future assuming he can fully recover from his arm injury.

Outfielders

School

Seth Smith

Mississippi

Danny Putnam

Stanford

Justin Maxwell

Maryland

Jeff Frazier

Rutgers

Sam Fuld

Stanford

Jeremy Slayden

Georgia Tech

Jonathan Zeringue

LSU

Eddy Martinez-Esteve

Florida State

Ben Harrison

Florida

Sean Gamble

Auburn

J.C. Holt

LSU

Michael Griffin

Baylor

Darryl Lawhorn

East Carolina

Tony Sipp

Clemson

C.J. Smith

Florida

Brandon Boggs

Georgia Tech

Chris Carter

Stanford

Cory Patton

Texas A & M

Mark Jurich

Louisville

Danny Figueroa

Miami

Joe Pietro

New Orleans

Jeff Fiorentino

Florida Atlantic

Anthony Raglani

George Washington



Comments


There are 23 potential outfielders among the Top 100 College Draft prospects. Stanford's Danny Putnam and Maryland's Justin Maxwell appear to be the top "five-tool" talents at this position this year. Sam Fuld and Florida's Ben Harrison are two of the more complete outfielders in the draft. Tony Sipp of Clemson could be drafted as a pitcher and Jeff Fiorentino of Florida Atlantic could be the "sleeper" in this class.

1. Seth Smith - Hit 4 HRs and had 9 RBI for Team USA in the Pan American games last summer after a good sophomore year at Ole Miss where he hit .333. Hit .402 as a freshman and like Jeff Frazier, he has walked more than he has struck out in his career.

2. Danny Putnam - One of the best offensive players in the land, Putnam hits to all fields with power and for average. Played for Team USA in the summer and is the leader of the Stanford Cardinal. Hit 16 HRs last season as a sophomore.

3. Justin Maxwell - A junior for the Terps, Maxwell has developed into one of the finer 5-tool talents At 6'5", he's a big kid that still has some room to fill out. He has outstanding range defensively. Led Maryland in several offensive categories last season.

4. Jeff Frazier - The former New Jersey Player of the Year as a high school senior, Frazier is a devastating hitter against left handed pitchers, hitting .390 againt south-paws. He can hit to all fields and has developing power. Has one of the better batting eyes in all of baseball, drawing 39 more walks than striking out...a rare feat in today's game.

5. Sam Fuld - A First Team Preseason All-American, Fuld's arguably the best centerfielder in college baseball is is one of the best defensive players. He can hit, throw, run, hit for power, etc, and should be a great leadoff prospect in this year's draft. He's a Kenny Lofton type.

6. Jeremy Slayden - Georgia Tech's everyday right fielder had a disappointing second year after bursting on to the scene as a freshman when he hit 18 home runs, setting a new school record for HRs by a freshman. Boasts a .323 career mark.

7. Jonathan Zeringue - A team leader for LSU, Zeringue was a third round draft pick of the White Sox in the 2001 draft. Hit .339 with 13 HRs last season and plays a very good defensive right field.

8. Eddy Martinez-Esteve - Only a sophomore, Esteve is considered one of the best hitters in all of college baseball. Hit .371 as a freshman third baseman and is playing right field in 2004. Was a third round pick of the Mariners in 2002.

9. Ben Harrison - An all around good player, both offensively and defensively. In less that 500 career at-bats at Florida, Harrison has 23 HRs, 123 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 34 attempts. Hit .362 in 2003 and use all fields.

10. Sean Gamble - Like Raglani, Gamble is strong in all areas. He won't hit for too much power, but could be a solid all around performer.

11. J.C. Holt - Plays a great defensive center field, making no errors last season. Played mostly second base and short stop his freshman year. Has a good bat with decent gap power. He is more of a speedster than power hitter. Holt was named the 2003 MVP of the Cape Cod Baseball League this past summer after hitting .388.

12. Michael Griffin - Played most of his freshman year at 3B, but plays outfield as well. He oozes talent in the batter's box. 43.7% of his hits in 2003 went for extra bases and played for the USA National Team in the Pan American Games last summer.

13. Darryl Lawhorn - Was named Co-National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America after hitting .416 with 19 home runs for the Pirates in 2002. Was a dominant pitcher in high school and is dripping with five-tool talent (he stole 15 bases his freshman year).

14. Tony Sipp - A left-handed hitter that can run well with speed. Depending on who drafts him, could be drafted as a pitcher. Early prediction is his future is on the mound.

15. C.J. Smith - This Florida Gator has big time power, knocking 17 home runs in 2003 which ranked second in the SEC. Smith hits to all fields and has a good batting eye. Not known for his defense, Smith committed 7 errrors at 1B last season. More of a DH type, possibly left field.

16. Brandon Boggs - A switch-hitter, Boggs is a "toolsy" player with good gap power and speed. He's a bit of a free swinger but plays a strong defensive center field. Has a strong arm and covers a lot of ground.

17. Chris Carter - A junior for the Stanford Cardinal, Carter possesses big time power, clubbing 17 HRs in just 208 career at-bats entering 2004. Missed two months of 2003 with a shoulder injury. Has good batting eye and great work ethic. Can also play 1B. A good '04 and he could rank a lot higher on this list.

18. Cory Patton - Like Jurich below, Patton has a ton of power despite size. At 5'10", Patton hit 16 HRs last season for the Aggies and still drew more walks than struck out. Uses all fields as a hitter.

19. Mark Jurich - Could have been much higher in the rankings has a hand injury not derailed him so much in 2003. At 5"11, Jurich has a lot of pop in his bat. Hit 16 HRs as a sophomore and he resembles Brian Giles in the batter's box. One to watch in 2004.

20. Danny Figueroa - Figueroa's game is all about the speed. Stole 41 bases in 63 games for the Miami Hurricanes last season. He is an on-base machine, drawing more walks than striking out, and getting 17 hit-by-pitches last season.

21. Joe Pietro - Good contact hitter, has gap power, and could be a force at the top of any lineup. His game is more about the speed than power.

22. Jeff Fiorentino - A kid that could be a real "sleeper" in June's draft. Does everything well. Has a body frame to add more weight and power. Hit .382 as a sophomore. Has five-tool talent.

23. Anthony Raglani - A junior for the Colonials, Raglani has developing power, a good eye, patience at the plate, and good gap power. His one weakness is his throwing arm. A definite left fielder.

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