A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nelly Figs

I had posted this quote the other day about Nelson Figueroa.

"He pitched his butt off in front of Omar at the Caribbean Series," says one scout. "And he pitched like that all winter long. I know people see the name and wonder. But you see a guy pitch like that, and you say to yourself, 'Why isn't this guy in the big leagues?'"

He first appeared in the big leagues at 26 with Arizona and put up a 7.47 ERA in 15 innings with an ERA+ of 64. He followed that up with an 89 innings performance with an 108 ERA+. He got bounced around yet again and put up an 81 ERA+ in 93 innings, 132 ERA+ in 35.3 innings, and a 75 ERA+ in 28.3 innings. In 11 minor league seasons, he put up a 3.47 ERA, 8.38 h/9, 7.59 k/9, and a 1.23 whip.

Now, I do not pretend to be a genius, but I do know that Nelson Figueroa is worthy of an actual full time shot at the bigs. At first glance you won't see anything spectacular and you probably will not find anything spectacular no matter how much digging you do, but there are a lot of bad pitchers in the bigs. A lot.
         AAA            MLB
2002 3.63 (IL) 5.03
2003 2.97 (PCL) 3.31
2004 4.19 (PCL) 5.72
2005 No where
2006 4.38 (PCL)
2007 No where
You will pardon me if I just do not think he got a fair shot. He looks like a AAAA player, but his body of work in the bigs was not all that big with some bright moments speckled around. When you watched him pitch in his last start, you saw someone with a game plan who worked both sides of the plate and had the ability to pump his fastball up a mph or two as he did when he blew a 88 mph heater by Bill Hall.

The guy has a clue. Now, he is not going to win a Cy Young any day soon, but he can certainly pitch in the majors in this universe and quite possibly as a starter. While many people might be a little reluctant to think he is an answer to the Mets pitching depth issues, I believe he is. He is going to be like any other 4ish/5ish type starter with his ups and downs. When he is not in control of his pitches and getting a little help, he will get tuned up.

However, it is not a stretch to see many, many more capable starts coming from him. I do not think his Friday start was a one and done feel good story for one. I think he can produce quite a few more of those given a chance and is probably better than a sizable bunch of current big league pitchers.

* * *

  • Oh how much a different a day makes. Four hits for Reyes brings him up to a .273 BA. Sure his .298 OBP is ugly, but most of us know he is too good to not perform at an extremely high level. Wright is making things happen and is in MVP form already. Pelfrey goes seven and gives up five hits, no runs, and two walks while striking out four. He had one really scary inning, but he pounded the strike zone for the most part and is looking at a tidy 1.50 ERA in 2008. Duaner came back and threw a shut out inning and Heilman continued on his quest to prove to everyone he is actually good.

    In a strange situation, the Mets fans booed Milledge. Booing Milledge? He gets treated like crap in New York and only tries really hard and he gets booed after getting traded in a trade that most fans hated? Weird. He did not seem to mind much, but it just really goes back to the fact that the Mets fans will boo anyone and everyone this season.

  • I was wrong. Castillo came back and despite Willie lauding him as the greatest #2 hitter ever to live, Luis found himself batting eighth. Of course, Church in the two spot was the surprising move, but if he wanted to bat Castillo eighth, stacking three lefties is a bit excessive especially when a lefty is starting. Also, having a guy who can poke 60 XBHs in the two hole is never a bad thing. It is unclear at this point how Willie will handle this post-Nationals, who are throwing a few more lefties out there, but this is encouraging.

    Luis is the worst bat in the lineup right now and this team needs a spark. He is not going to provide that in his decrepit state.

  • Pedro is more optimistic than most, but there is no rush. The Mets have three really good starters and two that can do good job at holding down the backend.

  • Wow. That is absolutely terrible.

  • This one is actually not too bad.

  • Luis just came back and already needs a rest. He cannot play more than three or four consecutive games in a row at this point in his career and the Mets have him for four more years. I did not think he would be productive for all four years, but I thought he would be decent for two years. I am having extreme doubts about that at this point.

  • Sugary spin....

    "Everybody in here knows Pelfrey has that in him," Wright said. "When he gets on a roll and pounds the strike zone, especially on a cold night, he's pretty unhittable."

    I still believe!

    "I feel like I'm getting more comfortable and more confident every time out," he said. "Even though the results didn't always show it, I felt like I was getting better."



    Blogger mr.bmc said...

    "Also, having a guy who can poke 60 XBHs in the two hole is never a bad thing."

    Batting Church 2nd? Swell.

    Church sacrifice bunting in the 3rd inning? No so swell.

    Figgy would be the #3 starter in Philly, Washington, Florida, Houston, ...

    Give the dude the ball.

    11:27 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Batting Church 2nd? Swell.

    Church sacrifice bunting in the 3rd inning? No so swell.

    Eh. You do not want to see that often, but I thought a big deal was made of it. He was feeling it in the two hole and tried to do a little something. It was also more of a drag bunt than anything.

    I'm ok with Church exhibiting his baseball skills.

    Figs is a real MLB pitcher. At least I think so in very limited research on the topic. Give the man a chance! I think the Mets might have seven capable starters when Pedro comes back and full bullpen.

    I am optimistic about these Mets. They still look flat, but a little winning streak should wake them up.

    11:35 AM

    Anonymous tc said...

    As long as guys are hurting, Figueroa can pitch for my team any day if he puts up a performance like the other night.

    What is up with the B-Mets? They are mashing ... Danny Murphy with another big night, upping his average to an absurd .486. The kid went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, a homer, and 3 RBI.

    Sweet Jesus! Willie praising a player not named Luis Castillo?! It can't be so:

    "Obviously, Pelfrey was outstanding. The kid threw the heck out of the ball tonight. He used everything he had, total game for him. That's the way we want him to be. He gets better as he goes out there. He's just learning how to pitch on his level. ... I mean, he's gone through some growing pains, and he still needs to be more consistent with his location, but you can see he's coming. He's a kid with a good chance of being a quality major-league player."

    Wright must have put something in Willie's post-game Kool-Aid.

    My favorite line from the daily Sugary spin has to be the following: "Having Duaner back makes us feel whole."

    All is well when you win 6-0.

    11:44 AM

    Anonymous gbaked said...

    I think figgy also adds a bit of emotion to this team that was very much in need.

    We KNOW this guy is going to bust his ass every time he takes the mound in a mets uniform.

    12:06 PM

    Anonymous gbaked said...

    I also got the feeling that Willie wants to try church in the 2 spot, in anticipation for when Alou comes back.

    While I think it was in poor taste for Willie to say what he said about pagan to the media... I dont think he was wrong. Lots of guys start the year very hot, but the guy is playing above his head so far... lets see him do it all year before we give him the LF job next year. Alou can rake. Our lineup is much better with him in it. That said, I hope Pagan gets in games all year.

    12:09 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm surprised that Castillo was dropped from the 2 hole so quickly, and not really sure I like it. You sign him to be your #2 hitter for four years and give up on him after 2 weeks? But... if you were going to do this, Church and not Pagan has to be the #2 hitter. Not only does it split up the lefties - a huge deal - but with Alou getting ready to come back (I'll believe it when I see it, but...), why make a lineup change for one week or so? Now, when (if) Alou gets back, the lineup looks like:


    That lineup has the chance to put some crooked numbers on the board.

    As for the pitching, and this can't be stated strongly enough, Pelfrey being a serviceable pitcher for this team is HUGE. Starts like last night make the Mets so much better.

    Finally, I got kinda misty eyed seeing Dirty back last night. I started thinking about it, and Omar and Willie had the midas touch going, and the Mets clubhouse was as fun as it could be, until July 30, 2006. Then in quick order Duaner's cab accident was followed by Pedro's shoulder injury, El Duque's injuries, the lose to the Cardinals, and the disaster of 2007. Other than Oliver Perez, nothing felt like it went right since Duaner got hurt. It was amazing the way I felt the emotion change last night. I hope - for Duaner's sake and the teams - he can be effective and we can keep the feeling going.


    12:19 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Nelson Figueroa did pitch his butt off in the Carribean Series. I was watching most of the games and he really was amazing. He pitched like 16 innings within 2 days, one for the championship clincher and then for the actualy championship. So my favorite part about him is his rubber arm, its valuable. I think he can be succesful and I'm not going to lie he really is a good story, it's like every time he would do good or win a game, I'd feel good about myself as well. It's beautiful!

    I was expecting cheers, slight clapping, or indifference for Milledge. Booing? damn, oh well, he's not on the Mets, but the last thing that boy needed was another reason to be pissed off.

    I have completely forgotten about Pedro, Alou, and Ramon Castro. Is that good or bad?

    That Shea Stadium death is sad. I'm trying to think real hard about how that could happen! I'm trying to imagine myself being on that escalator and I can't see myself fall like that.

    12:31 PM

    Blogger almar said...

    "but it just really goes back to the fact that the Mets fans will boo anyone and everyone this season."

    Mets fans are going to take a huge hit from a perception point of view in the media this year due to idiots who go to Shea to boo. Already this issue has taken on a life of it's own in media outlets (newspapers, blogs, radio, etc.).

    1:39 PM

    Blogger almar said...

    The Mets already took over the mantle of crappiest in-season choke job late in the year from the '64 Phillies. Now as fans we need to take away their rep of crappiest fans as well?

    1:42 PM

    Blogger almar said...

    "I hope - for Duaner's sake and the teams - he can be effective and we can keep the feeling going."

    The team as a whole has never been the same since Dirty's car accident. Lets hope a light switch went on last night for the team and they can reclaim that swagger from 2006 that they have sorely lacked since.

    1:45 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i'm not clear on how the guy fell? i guess he tripped and somehow lurched over the railing? anybody know?

    re, lastings... the way the nats announcers called it down here in virginia, he was booed and cheered the first time up, then just booed after he smacked that double.

    i know everyone here loves church and scheider at the moment, but i'm still not happy about that trade... even if it is water under the bridge.

    i have been trying to ignore this, but it makes no sense that we have castillo long term. i mean, WTF?!?


    1:50 PM

    Blogger almar said...

    "i have been trying to ignore this, but it makes no sense that we have castillo long term. i mean, WTF?!? "

    Omar, will never be able to spin or explain that one. I can understand 2 years,...but 4??!!

    He would be better off lying and saying that signing Castillo made it possible for Johan to sign here (since they were both in their own BFF Club*

    *Best Friends Forever Club

    1:54 PM

    Anonymous tc said...

    BFF Club or not, you have to think that Johan was taking the money from whoever gave it to him.

    3.9 more seasons of Luis and his bum knees is about as bad as they come.

    Poor guy, I just read that story online. He wasn't even drunk. That's just bad luck and poor footing or something. Never fun to hear stuff like that.

    Maine vs. Chico tonight, I'm hoping Johnny puts another good one together. And the more and more I think about it, the happier I am to have Duaner back in the pen. If he can be half of what he was in early '06, that's a HUGE addition and means we see less of Matt Wise and Sosa and whoever else Willie will throw out there every day.

    2:03 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The B-Metsies are mashing. AWESOME. They look pretty good...young...and close to the bigs. Who would have thought that would happen?

    Willie was nice to big Pelf? I was too focused today looking for bad quotes from him. Damn! Missed the good ones.

    gabaked, I do not disagree with Willie's thoughts about Pagan, but to say them in the media? C'mon. Pagan won't be Beltran any time soon, but give the kid some motivation and make him feel good!

    ube...just because you signed him for four years to hit #2 does not mean you are married to that. I'm not saying I hate Castillo and want him banished, someone needs to hit 8th, right? Why not him?

    Duaner + Ollie in 2008 is good. The accident hurt a lot, but Ollie made some big starts that no one else would have been able too in the series. The bullpen was pretty deep and I think things cancelled each other out.


    I have completely forgotten about Pedro, Alou, and Ramon Castro. Is that good or bad?

    Not bad! Good. It means things are good and when they come back, cha-ching! Big time bonus.

    almar...the booing is silly. I go to a lot of games and I've been to a lot over of games over the year, but booing a GOOD team this early? After Heilman has a bad outing after giving two years of top notch relieving? It all seems silly to me.

    jake...I am not sure how he fell. I know my mom did the same thing when I was a child in our house and broke some ribs. You slip and overcompensate by grabbing and thrusting yourself towards the railing so hard that you thrust yourself over. It is NOT easy to do, but I've seen it happen. Unfortunately, he had a longer way to fall.

    3:26 PM

    Blogger almar said...

    "I go to a lot of games and I've been to a lot over of games over the year, but booing a GOOD team this early? After Heilman has a bad outing after giving two years of top notch relieving? It all seems silly to me. "

    I think it is a combination of the FOX News approach the local sports media had in regards to the 2007 collapse. Constantly writing about it at every turn. That shit gets in the heads of a cynical paranoid fan base like Mets fans and it results in a collective drop in baseball IQ. It's a perfect storm.

    Add to that, that there was no accountability within the Mets organization for last year, and while I disagree with the booing, I can understand why.

    I think a temporary cure, as Wright and others have alluded to, is for the Mets to go on a tear, and by tear I do not mean winning 3 then losing 2 then winning 4,..I mean ripping off 9 of 11 and playing heads up baseball against the upper tier clubs.

    4:03 PM

    Anonymous tc said...

    Church in the 2-spot, Castillo batting 8th again.

    6:10 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    ...and Church kicking ass again.

    8:03 PM

    Anonymous Gehoff said...

    It would be nice to have Keppinger or Gotay as a backup at 2b. Castillo still handles the bat well, can do the little things, but can he play everyday and be productive?

    Church in the 2 hole seems like a solid idea. I wonder how someone convinced Willie to do it.

    11:16 PM

    Anonymous tc said...

    Church, Reyes, Beltran with HRs and a quality start by Maine and some good bullpen work by Smith and Wagner makes for a happy recap.

    The sweep is on tomorrow with Nelly Figs in dthe driver's seat vs. Lannan.

    Funny story about Lannan, Ray King, and Joel Hanrahan ... some girl I grew up with in the neighborhood goes to George Washington U, and met all of them at a bar in D.C. after a Nats home game. Went back to Rob Mackowiak's house after with her friends, and proceeded to drink the man's Moet and smoke some weed with all of them. Best of all, Ray King calls her the next day and asks her to hang out.

    12:11 AM

    Anonymous sdanzig said...

    Pelfrey's good on cold nights? Unfortunately, I prefer him good on warm nights. And I'm still keenly aware the Mets offense is waking up against the Nats. I'd like to see how the crew does against the top teams in baseball like..umm.. the Marlins.

    1:10 AM

    Anonymous tc said...

    Oh Willie:

    Regarding Church in the 2 spot: "Well, you know, when I make moves like that, it’s because I know my players better than any one. I have a good feel for my players. I watch BP, I watch how guys are swinging…I think when you face a guy like Chico, and (other left-handed pitchers), you take away their change up by putting a guy like Church in that spot where – you take that away from him, now there’s fastballs and Church takes advantage of that. So, that’s my thought process. I don’t always go in to detail, because sometimes it’s just a feeling that I have."

    #1- I sure hope Willie knows his players more than I do.
    #2- If Church went 0-8 these two games, I'm sure he'd be like, "Well, Luis still isn't 100%, so Church is just holding that spot."

    9:40 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    well, we know where two of Florida's losses came from :)

    11:05 AM


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