BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – FEBRUARY 18: Cuban flag is seen during a demonstration by Venezuelans against foreign intervention under the slogan #VenezuelaQuierePaz (Venezuela Wants Peace) at United States Embassy on February 18, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Franco Fasuli/Getty Images)
2020 MLB Season: The extra-inning rule isnt so bad after all by Sean Basile
When Raymond Figueredo decided to leave Cuba he was one of the hardest throwers in the Serie Nacional, the 20-year olds heater hovered around 95 to 97 mph.
The righty was a rising star in the 2019 Sub 23 tournament for La Habana. During the season he posted an ERA of 1.13 and hitters hit a paltry .170 against him, Figueredo was even included in the list of 34 prospects handed over to MLB by the Cuban Federation. Yet for some reason he was left of Industriales roster, an elbow injury I suspect had something to do with the exclusion even though he was said to be recovered after having stem cell treatment.
Today the young hurler is training in the Dominican Republic in search of a contract with an MLB club and with his electric repertoire that might just be on the horizon.
You have a blazing fastball in your repertoire, what other pitches have you incorporated in your arsenal since leaving Cuba?
I left Cuba with only a fastball, but since coming to the DR Ive added a slider and changeup to diversify my pitches and keep the hitters off-balance.
How have you stayed in shape during the pandemic?
Basically doing exercises at home and a lot of running. Im also playing at a baseball field near my house every weekend so I dont get out of baseball shape.
Did the collapse of the accord between Cuba and MLB influence your decision to leave the island?
It influenced me a bit, but I really just wanted to play in the best baseball in the world. That without a doubt was the biggest reason why I decided to leave Cuba.
Have you had any private workouts for any big league ball clubs?
No, as of right now I have only done showcases for a multitude of teams and scouts as a collective.
Do you have any more showcases planned?
In the near future when everything settles down I have the most important showcases of my life planned. My performance in these showcases will make or break my future.
Will you be playing any winter ball this off-season?
As of right now no, but if I receive an offer I will definitely entertain the thought. Playing winter ball will definitely keep me in baseball shape.
What pitchers do you admire?
Well in Cuba Im an avid fan of Freddy Aisel lvarez of Villa Clara, but my favorite pitcher to watch is Jacob deGrom.