Francisco Liriano: What He Brings to the Chicago White Sox
It didn’t take very long to find out what Kenny Williams’ plan-B was after missing out on Zack Greinke yesterday. The Chicago White Sox acquired Francisco Liriano today from the Minnesota Twins for INF Eduardo Escobar and SP Pedro Hernandez.
We all remember Pedro Hernandez getting destroyed in Boston last Wednesday, proving to me he has absolutely zero stuff to be successful in the Big Leagues; you can’t cut it with 89 MPH fastball with no out pitch. Eduardo Escobar – who actually had a big game today – will be missed for his versaility, most notably at the shortstop position where the White Sox have no backup to Alexei Ramirez. But he really is a dime a dozen. Now, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of what Francisco Liriano means to the White Sox.
First off, let’s react to the elephant in the room, Francisco Liriano’s 5.31 ERA isn’t very good. However, Liriano has turned it around since a rough April, and his peripherals look pretty solid compared to his ERA. We all know Liriano struggles with his command as his 4.95 BB/9 indicates, but his 9.81 K/9, 4.22 FIP, and 3.94 xFIP tell me he has the potential to improve, basically a bizarro Ryan Dempster.
To prove how well he’s pitched lately, White Sox pummeling aside, Liriano’s last ten starts have gone as followed: 5-5, 63 1/3 innings, 38 hits, 2.84 ERA, 77 strikeouts, and a .522 OPS. That’s really good, people.
This also allows a lot of flexibility for the White Sox when it comes to their rotation. As evident during last night’s game, Chris Sale’s velocity is down, which could be attributed to him throwing as many innings as he has. I wouldn’t be surprised if starters like Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, and Jose Quintana get skipped a day or two, allowing Philip Humber – who will probably go to the bullpen – to spot start during nine-game, nine-day stretches in the schedule.
At worst, Liriano goes in the bullpen and becomes a devastating reliever to deal with through September and into October. After all, pitching from the bullpen is what turned him around this season.
To recap, the White Sox traded a backup infielder and a 23-year old MiLB pitcher with absolutely no stuff for a pitcher who has been on fire before the White Sox rocked him last week. That’s a good deal no matter how you slice it.
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