Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making the case for Nelson Figueroa

The 5th spot in the Mets rotation is up in the air right now due to the recent struggles of both Orlando Hernandez and Mike Pelfrey. After both pitches were lit up on Sunday, questions were asked if whether Pelfrey is ready and if Hernandez is just too old. Pelfrey has been very inconsistent but has had games where he is getting the ground ball outs he intends to get. Though, his record is 0-1 after 5 games and he has an era of 8.31. In only 17.1 innings pitched, Pelf managed to give up 29 hits while giving up more walks (7) than strikeouts (6). Hernandez has pitched in just one game due to injuries. His age has really caught up to him as he is throwing his fastball in the low 80’s to upper 70’s. Major league hitters will crush him if he just slightly misses his target, especially on his breaking pitches in the 60’s. In that lone game for El Duque, he allowed 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and a strikeout. So as of now, Pelfrey and El Duque are not up to par, posing the question who should the Mets fifth starter.

I believe the best option would be to give 33 year old Nelson Figueroa a chance. Nelson has not pitched in the Major leagues since going 0-3 with a 5.72 era with the pirates in 2004. Since then he has played in an independent league (0-1, 2.79 era), 1 year in AAA (4-5, 4.38), and last season in Mexico (8-6, 3.87). He has been overlooked in spring training even though he has pitched pretty well. In 7 games (2 starts), Figueroa is 2-1 with a 2.87, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts. He has had success in the majors and it is possible it could happen again. In 2003, Figueroa went 2-1 with a 3.31 era in 12 games (3 starts). All I am saying is for the Mets to give him a chance. They don’t have to have him as their fifth starter but just don’t overlook him. If Pelfrey and El Duque continue to struggle during the last week of spring training then the Mets would be smart to consider Nelson Figueroa


hdarvick said...

In 2007, Nelson appeared in 19 games in the Triple A Mexican League, all starts, with an incredible 153.1 innings, with ten complete games, averaging 8 innings per game. Just last month he pitched into the 10th inning (1 run) of the opening game of the Caribe World Series - he was voted MVP.

Kyle said...

I know