Edinson Volquez shares many traits with the 2013 version of Francisco Liriano.
Both Liriano and Volquez arrived in Bradenton, Fla., with above-average velocity. Both pitchers arrived with an elite off-speed pitch and an ability to produce ground balls.
But both came to the Pirates as enigmas, coming off ineffective seasons despite their raw talent. Volquez posted the worst ERA (5.71) among qualified starters last season, despite pitching most of the year at pitcher-forgiving Petco Park.
Does Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage see similarities between Liriano and Volquez?
“Oh, gosh, yes,” Searage said Wednesday.
Under Searage, Liriano transformed from a bargain free-agent signing to a pitcher receiving Cy Young votes in 2013. With Volquez, the Pirates and Searage again are hoping to practice baseball alchemy. If Volquez can find his previous form, he would help fill the void left by A.J. Burnett's departure.
The similarities between Volquez and Liriano don't end with their raw ...