Saturday, December 22, 2012

Brewers interested in Alfredo Figaro: Scouting Report

Alfredo Figaro had reportedly signed with the Brewers, but the deal is being held up because of a contract issue with the Orix Buffaloes of the NPB. So it isn't official yet, but I decided to write a scouting report on him anyway. He has pitched the past two years for Orix with a 3.31 ERA and 3.55 FIP.

In the NPB, 2011 league average was 3.25 ERA and 3.23 FIP while 2012 league average was 3.35 ERA and 3.46 FIP. Even Figaro's K/BB/HR rates in isolation are around NPB averages. He seems to be the ideal mid-rotation (or number 3) starter in the NPB.

Figaro is a 28 year old right-handed pitcher that stands at just 6 feet tall. One would figure that because of the height bias (which has some validity in scouting, bias doesn't exactly mean wrong in this case) and the fact that he is a mid-rotation NPB pitcher, he will be a reliever in the minors or majors. He was signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican, and his whole affiliated career was with Detroit. He pitched in 31.2 innings in the Majors (in both starting and relieving roles), and projected as 4th starter as a prospect. His MLB time didn't go well, as he had a 0 fWAR and 119 FIP -.

He threw 3 pitches in the Majors according to Fangraphs: 92.2 MPH fastball, a 81.2 MPH curveball, and 80.6 MPH changeup. However, in what seems to happen to every pitcher (or at least all the ones I write about), there is a classification problem. Brooks Baseball calls the pitch a slider, and says he threw a separate curveball a handful of times. NPB Tracker tends to agree with Brooks Baseball, saying he threw mainly a slider with some curveballs (but more than Brooks said he did) mixed in. The curve averaged 78.37 MPH, while the slider averaged 81.62 MPH. The fastball averaged 92.04 MPH over the two years, and was stronger in 2012.

His delivery is somewhat similar to what you see a lot in Japan. He comes set and starts his windup in a dramatic way similar to what you see a lot in pitcher from the East, and then uses a leg kick that hides the ball (which is helped by him bring the ball and glove low for a split second) before delivering the ball in a fairly standard fashion. His fastball is pretty straight, and he clearly likes to throw it high. His slider isn't a great pitch, at least in movement, but it can be effective when he throws it down and away from right-handers. He uses his fastball as the putaway pitch, he just wants to blow it by people. While his velocity is good, it doesn't seem that it is overpowering enough to do that in the Majors.

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