- Full name Pedro Jose Figueroa
- Born 11/23/1985 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 04/21/2012
Organization Prospect Rankings
Figueroa was rated Oakland's best pitching prospect entering the 2010 season, but his slow development ground to a halt when he needed Tommy John surgery that June. He missed the second half of 2010 and almost all of 2011. When he resurfaced last season, the A's made him a reliever to keep him healthy. He found his old form, excelling in Triple-A and reaching the majors. He made Oakland's postseason roster but didn't pitch in the Division Series. Figueroa throws harder than most lefthanders, with a fastball that sits at 96-97 mph and touches 99 when he comes out of the bullpen. He has a second quality pitch in his hard, late-breaking slider, and he throws a changeup with some armside run. Figueroa whips the ball with a slingshot arm action. He has average control and fringy command, getting into trouble when he pitches up in the strike zone and falls behind in the count. The A's still are considering giving him another chance at starting, though his health and their needs will dictate his role. He could open 2013 in Oakland's bullpen or Sacramento's rotation.
Figueroa ranked as Oakland's top pitching prospect entering the 2010 season, but he was shut down that June and needed Tommy John surgery. He got back on the mound late last year and pitched some more during instructional league. The A's aren't closing the door on the possibility of Figueroa returning to starting, but he's expected to transition to relief in 2012. Oakland likes the way his stuff fits into the bullpen, where he can focus on two pitches and air them out. Figueroa's fastball reached 95 mph during instructional league and the ball jumped out of his hand. He still was working out the kinks with his slider, but it got up to 87 mph last fall and featured promising depth before his operation. He features a changeup as well, which the A's were trying to soften up a bit, but it won't matter as much if he becomes a reliever. The A's were happy with how Figueroa seemed to embrace his new role, and he could open the season in Triple-A. He's 26 and has yet to appear in the big leagues, but he remains on the club's 40-man roster and could surface in Oakland this year if all goes well.
Figueroa was the A's minor league pitcher of the year and ranked as their best pitching prospect following his breakout 2009 season, which amazingly was his first in full-season ball after five years as a pro. His 2010 got off to a good start, but he struggled in May and was shut down in June. Doctors diagnosed a ligament tear in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery. Figueroa's development already had been slow, but Oakland was encouraged by the progress he was making. His plus fastball was sitting at 92-95 mph and touching 96. He complemented the heater with a mid-80s slider with tilt, plus a solid changeup that he was throwing regularly. Some scouts worried that he tipped off his changeup by slowing his arm down when he threw it. Figueroa's biggest problem has been fastball command, as he tends to miss up in the zone too often. The A's still believe he can be a frontline starter. They hope he can get back on the mound by midseason, so that he can get in some innings and head into instructional league with an eye toward hitting the ground running in 2012--when he'll be 26.
Figueroa's development had proceeded so slowly that he needed five years in Rookie and short-season ball and went unpicked in the 2008 Rule 5 draft. He broke though in 2009, winning Oakland's minor league pitcher of the year award after going 13-6, 3.38 with 145 strikeouts in 152 innings between two Class A stops. From a low-three-quarters delivery, Figueroa whips lively fastballs that sit at 93-95 mph and touch 97. He can throw his fastball with natural sink or give it cutting action. His breaking ball was big and sloppy in the past, but he has tightened it into a mid-80s slider with depth. His changeup still is developing but shows some promise and he's not afraid to throw it. Command is Figueroa's biggest downfall, a result of sometimes rushing his delivery. That causes him to throw too many hittable pitches and hand out too many walks. He may be a late bloomer, but he's 24 and has yet to pitch above Class A. Figueroa will have the stuff to be a frontline starter if he throws more strikes. If not, he could be a weapon out of the bullpen, with one A's official comparing him to Damaso Marte. Added to the 40-man roster this offseason, Figueroa should begin 2010 in Double-A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Figueroa has progressed so slowly that he was Rule 5 draft-eligible last winter, before he had pitched in a full-season league. His development accelerated rapidly in 2009, however, and the Athletics won't dare risk leaving him unprotected again. He went 6-0, 1.46 in his last six MWL starts before departing in July for high Class A, where he had continued success. Figueroa has power stuff for a lefthander, maintaining 92-95 mph fastballs for entire slots and backing them up with sliders that are more notable for their velocity than their break. He has an easy arm action but he rushes his three-quarters delivery, leading to walks and pitches up in the zone. As a result, his stuff doesn't always play as well as it should. He still needs to harness his delivery and watch his weight, which has been an issue in the past. If Figueroa can develop a changeup, he'll make an intriguing starter. If not, his fastball-slider combo is enough to make him a late-inning reliever.
A late-blooming lefthander, Figueroa had by far his best season as a pro. He has lost weight over the last two years--though he's about 30 pounds heavier than his listed weight of 164--freeing up his arm and growing into his body. "He has the best stuff I saw in the Cal League this year," a scout said. "He has a 90-95 mph fastball with plus natural sink, and a nasty 86-88 slider. He also has a plus change, which he uses a lot to get out of jams." Though he's not big, Figueroa has tremendous arm speed. His biggest issue remains his command, as he gives up too many walks and puts himself in hitter's counts. He'll wind up in the bullpen if that doesn't improve.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Oakland Athletics in 2013