Bien Figueroa has served in the Baltimore Orioles organization for eleven seasons. He has served as a coach with the Bowie Baysox as a coach in the 1997-1999 and 2001 seasons, but he made his name as the Manager for the Frederick Keys in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, the Keys won the Carolina League's Mills Cup Championship and they returned to the playoffs in 2006. Figueroa has been promoted to Manager of the Bowie Baysox for the 2007 season, where he will have the opportunity to see over many of his players for a second year in a row. Recently, Inside The Warehouse had an opportunity to sit down with Bien Figueroa to get his take on the development of the Baysox's top prospects.
ITW: Jim Hoey has had a lot of success early on this season. What do you think the finishing touches are before he's ready for the major leagues?
Bien Figueroa: The way he throws, he can throw anywhere. This kid throws everything for a strike; plus, this year, he has a changeup that he didn't throw last year. He throws everything pretty good. It's not my decision. I don't want to comment on a decision from the team management, but I think he can throw anywhere.
ITW: Radhames Liz has pitched well, but he's had more problems in double-A than he has in the past. What adjustments does he need to make to dominate like he did in single-A?
Bien Figueroa: He's been pitching better the last four outings. The first two outings, he was throwing 2 or 4 innings. The last four outings, he's been throwing 5 or 6 innings and he's been throwing much better. He just needs to be more consistent throwing strikes. He's looked pretty good, but he's going to get better.
ITW: Jim Miller is one of the newest arm in the organization. What are your initial impressions of him?
Bien Figueroa: He's got a good fastball. He's very sneaky. He's the kind of guy that looks like he doesn't throw hard and then he's right on top of you. He's got a good fastball, good slider and he throws strikes. I think it was a pretty good trade [for Rodrigo Lopez] for the Orioles.
ITW: Paco Figueroa is a guy who came up this year from Frederick along with you. What have you seen in terms of him maturing as a player and adjusting to double-A?
Bien Figueroa: He's starting to swing good. Earlier, it was too cold and he's never played in that cold of weather. In the last ten games or so, you can see that his average has gone up from like .150 to .240 and he is starting to swing good. He's a good player and he's going to hit. He reminds me of Brian Roberts when he was younger. He's just a baseball player.
ITW: Val Majewski was a guy who was one of the organization's top prospects a few years ago and then he had a shoulder injury that derailed him for a bit. Is that something that has impaired him even into this year?
Bien Figueroa: He's had it tough losing two years to [the injury]. Last year, he was working his way back but we have high hopes for him this year. He's worked his way back and we hope he stays healthy and gets his swing back the way he used to. He's had some problems [with the shoulder] and one week he will look consistently good and the next week he doesn't swing too good. It's a matter of time. He works so hard and he'll get his swing back.
ITW: Can you update us on the status of Nolan Reimold and the re-aggravation of his oblique injury?
Bien Figueroa: I don't know when Reimold comes back. We don't know anything. He said today that he feels much better. I don't know how long he is going to be out.
ITW: Finally, Jeff Fiorentino has showed some signs of life lately, but he has been struggling early. Last year, he struggled early as well. Is he jut a slow starter or are there some adjustments he needs to make at the plate?
Bien Figueroa: He's always started slow. He's like Nick Markakis; they always start slow and then, when they get hot, start swinging the bat much better. They did it for me in Delmarva and then they did it for me in Frederick. They start slow and then turn it around. That's the way Nick Markakis and Jeff Fiorentino are, but they are both going to hit.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com