Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Figaro has had an interesting path through the Detroit farm system – a path that started in with the Dodgers' Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2004. After posting a 9.82 ERA in five appearances, Figaro was released from the Los Angeles organization and signed on with the Tigers in March 2005. After signing, Figaro dominated the DSL, posting 8-2 record in 14 games; his eight wins enough for second in the circuit. With 100 strikeouts in 77 innings of work, Figaro ranked fourth in the DSL, while also posting a 1.87 ERA.
The Tigers brought Figaro stateside for the 2006 season, and his dominance continued. Alfredo posted a 3-1 mark in another 14 appearances, most of them in relief, and ranked second among GCL relievers with a .140 batting average against. With his 0.70 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, Figaro was named the TigsTown GCL Pitcher of the Year.
The 2007 season got off to a rocky start for Figaro as he posted an ERA in excess of seven in two April appearances for Lakeland. The Tigers sent him back to Extended Spring Training and he returned to post a 3.60 ERA in three starts for the Flying Tigers in June. The Tigers opted to send Alfredo down to Oneonta of the New York-Penn League for the remainder of the season, and his performance steadily improved while there; culminating with being named TigsTown's Oneonta Pitcher of the Month for August with a 0.00 ERA in three starts for the month.
In what is becoming a pattern throughout the system, Figaro is another power arm with a very high ceiling. His fastball routinely sits at 92-94 and I've seen it up to 97 on several occasions in the past two years. He throws a heavy ball that can rip through bats when located properly. He has the ability to throw strikes with ease, but his command lags behind, rating as barely average. He will have to throw more quality strikes at higher levels.
Figaro's breaking ball has shown excellent potential, but must be refined in order to become a true out pitch. If he can gain consistency with his ability to work the pitch low in the zone, he could become a dominating two-pitch pitcher. Though his change-up lags behind his other two offerings, he has demonstrated a feel for the pitch and keeps his arm speed up when throwing the slower offering. With diligent work, it could become an average offering with time.
Figaro mixes his pitches well and is not afraid to attack hitters in any situation. He can overthrow at times, trying to blow his brilliant fastball by hitters, costing him control and the advantage within at-bats. As he continues to mature, Figaro should realize he is better served pumping heat at 93-94 with command, versus 96-97 out of the strike zone.
Though he worked almost exclusively as a starter in 2007, his future likely lies in a bullpen role; where his fearless attitude and power stuff could make him an excellent late inning reliever.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG SS-A
Figaro's mechanics can get away from him at times, and in those times, his command will disappear as well. While he has not faced any serious arm soreness or injury to date, he will need to be watched closely to ensure his varying mechanics do not cause him harm.
Alfredo has seen the test of the Florida State League, and while the logical progression suggests he heads to West Michigan for the 2008 season opener, he could be in line for a jump to Lakeland. His power stuff will play in either league, and it is just a matter of finding a role for him on a roster.
With plenty of starters vying for slots between West Michigan and Lakeland, his move to the bullpen could come as soon as this season; which could also mean a much quicker ascent through the organization. Figaro has the stuff to become a dominating reliever, but his ability to mature mentally will dictate his timeline.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.