Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Francisco Liriano Is Headed To The South Side

On July 29 the Chicago White Sox went out and acquired Minnesota Twins pitcher, Francisco Liriano. On the surface one gets the impression that Liriano has been struggling mightly. That isn't quite the case though. Liriano did perform poorly during the first month of the season, and as a result he landed in the bullpen. On May 30 he found himself back in the starting rotation and looked like his old-self. The White Sox hope he continues to stay dominant as their season progresses.

Since I'm a Twins fan I've seen my share of Liriano's starts this year. No doubt it's been frustrating , the first month of the season was about as bad as it can get. Let's take a look at some numbers.

FIP: 6.61

xFIP: 5.57

GB%: 38.9%

K/9: 7.1

BB/9: 7.16

Like I stated above. these numbers are pretty brutal. He had terrible command and struggled mightily to induce groundballs. His 6.61 FIP was also about as bad as it can get. It looked like Liriano was going to have a 2011-like season. He was all over the place and frankly, he didn't look like a former potential ace at all. As a result the Twins placed Liriano in the bullpen and hoped that he would turn it around. Boy, did he turn it around. Since he returned from the bullpen, he's been the Liriano of old.

Not counting the start that he made last night he's had a FIP of 4.09 and an xFIP of 3.54. That may not look very impressive, but his start that he made on 7/23 really skews the data. If we take that start out then his FIP drops all the way to 2.77 and his xFIP drops to 3.18. He also managed to strike out 3 more batters per 9 innings. He alsos cut his walks per 9 innings by 3. It appears that Liriano found something, and Kenny Williams jumped.

Besides Chris Sale and Jake Peavy, the White Sox need some help in their rotation. Gavin Floyd has had a disappointing season, and John Danks is scheduled to have season ending shoulder surgery. Danks has only made 9 starts this season, and he was very disappointing in those starts. The White Sox signed him to a 5 year/$65 million dollar contract extension during the off-season so hopefully he returns to form next season. Jose Quintana has showed that he can be a solid back of the rotation option, so even if Liriano posts a FIP in the 3.70 range they should be in good shape as they get towards October.

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