Much like Joel Pineiro who we have already discussed here Liriano’s career numbers make him look pedestrian as a result of being both dominant one season and a push over the next. Unlike Pineiro who is 6 years older, Liriano is in his last year of arbitration and will be only 29 on opening day next season. Surely his unpredictable performance will be a deterrent to many possible suitors, but his dazzling stat line in even numbered years will be appealing to someone. Liriano’s got too much potential to be ignored completely, and will, barring a catastrophically bad year, be looking at a major league offer or two at the end of the season.
One of the biggest question marks looking over his stat sheet is his command, while his BABIP is high year in and year out (.312 for his career) it seems one of his biggest issues is keeping the ball over the plate, but not over the middle. If you see Liriano giving up walks, you can be sure he’s gearing up to give up a shot into the bleachers shortly thereafter. In his dominant years he has kept his walk rate in check, while also keeping more balls in the yard, which absolutely makes sense. That much all feels very obvious, when he’s having trouble spotting pitches, he’s leaving a few over the middle of the plate trying to reestablish his command. It’s hard to call Liriano a groundball pitcher, but he certainly does seem to induce more ground balls when he’s on. This of course would help him more if his defense was backing him up more, and if he were on a more defensively solid team his overall numbers are liable to look a good bit better.