Showcase | Story | 1/19/2020

Figueroa Figures Out His Power

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Adrian Figueroa (Perfect Game)
Adrian Figueroa showed up to the 2020 World Showcase in Fort Myers with adjustments in tow.

The big lefthanded throwing and hitting first baseman has always looked the part – he is 6-foot-6 and well-proportioned – but up until now had left something to be desired with his frame.

Until now, that is.

Figueroa showcased a different approach during his batting practice portion, one that highlighted the new power he has in his bat. Or maybe it’s not new, but more so became unlocked.

“I wanted to hit the ball hard and barrel everything I see,” he said. “Last year I made a commitment to focusing on the weight room and getting bigger and stronger. Between now and the beginning of the year, it’s really paying off.”

The Miami native and Florida International commit was competing in his third World Showcase, having been to the previous two prior to 2020.

He was named to the Top Prospect List at both of those events. In 2018, part of his report stated that he “shows real bat speed and power potential.” In 2019, his report spoke about a line drive plane and a middle of the field approach.

They are impressive reports. He was given a 9-grade at both events. But with his big frame, the power hadn’t quite been there.

This weekend, David Rawnsley, Perfect Game’s Vice President of Player Personnel, saw the adjustment he had been hoping to see out of Figueroa.

“Adrian has really improved his swing since the last time we saw him,” Rawnsley said. “He’s 6-foot-6, he’s got long levers, and he’s really strong. But he took a much more aggressive, power, pull-oriented approach today, where before he was kind of a contact hitter, hitting the ball to all fields. He really used that size to his advantage today during BP and really hit some balls hard to the pull side and showed his power potential.”

Figueroa agreed with the sentiment. It’s what he came here to do. It’s why he is here for the third time, still extremely eager to prove to scouts and teammates alike that he is constantly improving his game.

His defensive prowess has been there all along. He was here to show he’s gotten faster on the basepaths and stronger at the plate. The strength part was obvious during BP. He ran a 7.03 60-yard dash, after a 7.30 time at the event last year.

So, check and check. Figueroa was all smiles at the end of the day.

“I feel like today went pretty well,” he said. “I feel like I improved a lot in the 60 [yard dash]. First base went really well defensively, I think. And then with the [batting practice], I hit really well.”

Figueroa also knows this isn’t peak performance, however. He was smart enough to know he needed to make adjustments before he showed up to the World Showcase, and he’s smart enough to know his work isn’t done when it comes to improving his game.

Adding the power to his swing with an already great glove at first base gets him closer to becoming the complete player he wants to be. But he still wants more.

“My arm velocity has gotten a lot better,” he said. “My power and contact have improved, too. I’ve been working on my plate discipline, too…There’s always more room to improve, though. I want to get better at base stealing. There’s room for improvement there. Getting more aggressive early in counts, too.”

It was basically mission accomplished for Figueroa at his final World Showcase, and what could be his final Perfect Game event after tallying 22 in his prep career.

After four trips to PG showcases (he also competed at the 2016 National Underclass Main Event) and three trips to Jupiter for the WWBA World Championship, it’s page-turning time.

“We close one door, we open another one,” Figueroa said. “I’m just really excited [about my future]. I know all of my friends are going to go to different places, and I’m excited for the new chapter in my life to see where it goes.”

He leaves Perfect Game and heads towards one final high school season at Doral Academy Charter, and then Florida International with head coach Mervyl Melendez.

After his work at the World Showcase, Rawnsley said he is more convinced than ever about Figueroa’s profile as a high-level prospect.

“He’s an outstanding defensive first baseman,” Rawnsley said. “He’s a 9-grade defensive first baseman. You could always see the potential, we’ve certainly seen it before. Today, we saw the first really big step in fulfilling that potential.”

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