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Eyeing Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano is unavailable in many leagues.  But you may still find him in shallow leagues or leagues with small benches.

The 24 year-old former phenom currently has a 3.80 ERA in 15 Triple A starts.  He has a 7.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.  Not bad, but not the absurd rates he put up in Triple A pre-TJ: 11.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.

Good news: he's rattled off 13 scoreless innings, whiffing 16 and walking two in that period.  For more information, we turn to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.  Kevin Oklobzija says Liriano is overpowering hitters with his three-pitch repertoire of fastball, slider, and changeup.

I was concerned about Liriano's velocity - his fastball averaged 94.7 mph in '06, but just 90.4 in the Majors this year.  I asked Oklobzija about that.  His response:

From what I've seen, and heard from folks with the club, he's maybe in the 92-93 range on a consistent basis.  More importantly, he's willingly throwing his slider again.

Sounds pretty good, even if he's not vintage Liriano.  We may have to wait until '09 for that, though he should be somewhat effective this year.  The only problem is that Livan Hernandez has pitched decently in his last four starts.  The other four starters have all been strong, so there's no imminent path for Liriano to return to the bigs.

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