We'll stay in the category of lanky, right-handed, Dominican arms after last week's feature on Camilo Doval, although this time we have a starting pitcher. Miguel Figueroa made his U.S. debut on June 26 and made a solid impression at age 19 facing the Arizona League Cubs.
Figueroa was part of the same international signing class that landed Bahamian Lucius Fox in July of 2015. Also included in that class were current teammates Ricardo Genoves and Diego Rincones, as well as Jose Marte, who was assigned to pitch for Salem-Keizer this season.
Hailing from the capital, Santo Domingo, Figueroa stands at six feet, two inches tall and is listed at 165 pounds. He made his pro debut in 2016 and made 11 starts for the DSL Giants averaging 4.1 innings and 17.2 batters faced per start. The peripheral numbers weren't all that impressive for Figueroa, except for a 7.4 BB%. Figueroa struck out 28 batters in 47.2 innings, which put his strikeout rate at an underwhelming 14.8%. The opposition slashed .249/.323/.385 though he maintained a reasonable 3.02 ERA with a 3.95 FIP.
Figueroa's arm angle is quite high, as evidenced by the first screen cap below. Out of the windup and stretch, he features a standard leg lift, followed by a spinal tilt before coming almost straight over the top with his release.
He does, however, slightly alter his arm angle to be a bit lower when throwing the slider, as compared to the fastball and changeup. The slideshow above, in order from first to last, goes fastball, changeup, slider.
In terms of velocity, Figueroa isn't overpowering, and based on his early knack for staying away from walks, his success will hinge on his command of the zone and the type of contact opposing hitters produce. His fastball sits in the high-80s and low-90s and does feature some tailing action. The secondaries, in my mind, are highlighted by the changeup, though this outing spotlighted mostly sliders. The changeup is low-to-mid-80s while the slider is a little faster and has tight, diagonal movement.
- At 0:41 he throws a sweet first-pitch changeup (three-finger grip) for a whiff.
- At 0:44 he puts the slider in the dirt and gets a second straight swing-through.
- At 0:58 he paints the outside corner with a fastball for a called strike three.
- At 2:16 he gets a whiff with a first-pitch fastball on the inner half.
- At 3:05 he blows another lefty away, this time with a high fastball.
- At 4:58 he nabs his third punch out with a tight slider on the outer half.
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