Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/13/14
Francisco Liriano is looking like the 2010 version, or better. (Photo Credit: David Hague) I use the “small sample size” disclaimer a lot on this site, so it’s important to note that everything Francisco Liriano has done so far this season comes with that same disclaimer. Having said that, what Francisco Liriano has done so far is cause for some excitement. In five starts, Liriano has a 2.17 ERA in 29 innings, with a 12.1 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9 ratio. Unlike other starters who are putting up strong numbers in the rotation, Liriano isn’t projected to regress. He’s actually projected to improve, with a 1.30 FIP. That’s mostly due to an unlucky .342 BABIP. There are plenty of things to like about Liriano so far. Consider… **The low walk rate. The big concern coming into the season was his high walk total in 2011 and 2012. Both seasons had a BB/9 ratio around 5.0. This year he’s down around the levels he was at in his big 2010 and 2006 seasons. **The high strikeouts. So far Liriano has been dominating opposing hitters, with his best strikeout rate since he threw 23.2 innings in 2005. In 2006 he had a 10.7 K/9. Since then he’s mostly been around 8-9 K/9, with one of the highest rates being the 9.44 K/9 in 2010. **The ground balls. Liriano has a 51.4% ground ball rate. He had a 53.6% rate in 2010, then dropped in each of the last two years, finishing at 43.8% last year. A left hander who is a ground ball heavy pitcher is always a good thing to have in PNC Park, especially when that left-hander also limits walks and strikes out over a batter per inning. **The swings. Liriano is getting batters to swing at 47% of his pitches this year. He was around 43-44% the last two years, and 47.3% in 2010. What’s even better is that his 66.9% contact rate is the lowest it has been since 2006. That makes sense with the high strikeout rate. Here is the best combination. Liriano has thrown 38.2% of pitches in the strike zone, which is down from 43% the last two years, and 48% in 2010. However, he’s getting swings outside of the zone at a 37.9% rate this year, which is up from 26-31% the last two years, and 34% in 2010. So he’s throwing more pitches out of the strike zone, but also getting more swings, and the contact numbers are down. You could say all of those are related, and file them under the “fooling hitters” category. Again, it’s a small sample size of five starts. The swing percentages don’t include tonight’s start, so they’re based on four starts. But so far, I’d say it’s looking like the Pirates are getting the 2010 Francisco Liriano. In fact, you could make an argument that this version is looking better. And it’s not just the stats. Liriano looks dominant on the mound. There are a few places where the pitching staff will probably see some regression, but Liriano doesn’t look like one of those spots. Instead, he looks like he could be another anchor for the rotation. Links and Notes **Save $8 On The Pirates Prospects Books With the MLB Draft Sale. **Check out the latest episode of the Pirates Prospects Podcast: P3 Episode 6: The Battling Buccos, The Bullpen Usage, and The Pirates System. **2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Dominican Summer League Preview. The DSL results will be uploaded in a separate article each morning, with a highlight of one player each day. **The Chances For Each Player Being Available When the Pirates Draft. **Prospect Watch: McDonald Has a Better Rehab Start, Rojas Hits Winning Homer. **West Virginia Power Win 8-0, Holmes Throws Five Shutout Innings. **Minor League Schedule: Morton On Rehab, Glasnow Tries To Bounce Back In Lakewood. **Gerrit Cole pitched a great game on Friday. Charlie at Bucs Dugout was in attendance, and has a write up here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Winston snubbed ESPN out of draft interview

Report: Some Colts players unhappy with first-round pick

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: Focus is on Julio Jones contract

Irvin on Seahawks not picking up option: ‘F— that option’

Brandon Prust rips referee, accuses him of on-ice trash talk

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron James ditched headband to look more like teammates

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

Mike Trout criticized for tweet about Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Early 2016 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Life without Love: The new-look Cavaliers

Wizards deserve credit for win, but don't read too much into it

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Winston snubbed ESPN

Life without Love: The new-look Cavs

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.