As you have probably heard by now, the Tigers have placed Dontrelle Willis on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder and have called up Alfredo Figaro to take his place. Figaro, who will make his first start on Saturday is a hard throwing 24 year old right-handed pitcher. He was originally signed by the Dodgers as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic but they released him after one year and the Tigers snatched him in 2003.
At six feet tall and 173 pounds, Alfredo is rather small for a pitcher but he throws his fastball in the mid 90s and has touched 98. He also has a good curve and is working on a change-up. He was ranked 16th in the the Tigers system by Baseball America last year but Mark Anderson at TigsTown says his stock is rising and that he has a chance to be a long term starter for the Tigers.
Figaro, who is the cousin of Fernando Rodney has pitched 68 innings for AA Erie this year posting a 4.10 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 17 walks. His performance has been up and down but he has been very strong in his last two starts - two runs in 7 innings plus in each game and a combined 18 strikeouts. He excelled at A-level West Michigan last year compiling a 2.05 ERA over 123 innings. He then struggled a bit upon his promotion to Lakeland where he had a 4.91 ERA in 29 innings.
Alfredo is not a Rick Porcello type prospect and I'm not counting on him to stay in the rotation the rest of the year but he does have some potential. He couldn't do much worse than some of Willis's recent performances. He will probably struggle in his first exposure to Major League hitters but hopefully he can capture lightning in a bottle for a few games.