First off, for his career, Nelson gives you one quality start about 1/3 of the time.
While that number jumped to 50% in 2009 (5 quality starts in 10 starts), it's still not enough to convince me.
The bottom line is that a 36-year old journeyman doesn't simply figure it out, and his BB/9, lack of a plus fastball, and overall control makes him truly a AAAA pitcher.
Figgy would have been great 30-40 years ago when team's had a 4-man rotation of starters who finished their games and each club had a "long man/Mop up guy" who would come in and pitch the rare game when someone got shelled or there was a doubleheader (remember those?)
I have some very simple proof for anyone that points to last year and this year's spring success as reason to give him the nod.
His 5th inning ERA from 2009 compared to his early inning ERA:
- 1st inning--4.35
- 2nd inning--3.27
- 3rd inning--4.63
- 4th inning--3.00
- 5th inning--8.18
Figgy can get you through a few innings, but in his 10 starts last year, these were his innings pitched totals: 1.2, 5.0, 7.0, 6.0, 5.1, 5.0, 7.0, 6.0, 9.0
We know what he'll do in 2010, pitch below average and have a nice start once every three weeks, which means it's time to see what someone else can do, even if that's below average as well.
Niese, Nieve or Takahashi deserves the chance.