Saturday, January 10, 2009

Francisco Liriano 2009

In 2006, Francisco Liriano struck out 144 and walked 32 in just 121 innings pitched. He had a 55.3% groundball rate. A repeat of that performance would make him the best pitcher in baseball in 2009. Unfortunately, Liriano missed all of 2007 after undergoing arm surgery. He made it back to the majors in April 2008, and was awful, before being sent down to the minors. Upon returning later in the season, he pitched very well (although far from his 2006 standards) and this performance is somewhat masked in his total statistics by the results of his April pitching. Once he made it back to the majors, he struck out 60 and walked 19 in 65.2 innings. One cause for concern is that his groundball rate was down to a very mediocre 41.6%. What should we expect in 2009? My best guess is that Liriano will be excellent, but not quite as good a pre-surgery. A strikeout per inning with good control seems reasonable. What I'm less sure about is his ground ball rate. Will it return to where it was in 2006? I have no idea, but for now am going to assume not. A slight increase to 44% or so seems like a reasonable guesstimate until we see how he's throwing early in the season.

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