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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano is a 33 year old left-handed pitcher. He’s year younger than J.A. Happ, which kind of surprised me. I thought he would be older. He’s 100 days younger than Marco Estrada.

We picked him up in a trade that, if I was a Pirates fan, I’d be calling for the firing of the Pirates GM. The Pirates were paying him $13 and 13 million, for last year and this year, and Liriano wasn’t haven’t a good season. He had a 6.02 ERA. The Pirates were so anxious to be rid of him, they packaged him with prospects Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire. The Jays sent Drew Hutchison to Pittsburgh. Drew had worn out his welcome here. Maybe Ray Searage can fix him, though it didn’t happen over the last couple of months of last year.

Francisco pitched much better after joining the Jays. He had a 2.92 ERA in 10 games, 8 starts. I don’t know if it was having Russell Martin as catcher or what, but he brought down his walk rate from 5.5 per 9 innings to 2.9, while still getting 9.2 strikeouts per 9. If he can pitch like that again this year, we’d all be very happy.

Liriano has pitched for 11 seasons, in the MLB, and he still hasn’t pitched 200 inning in a season. Maybe this will be the year. His career high is 191.2, back in 2010, but he hit 186.2 in 2015.

FanGraphs has him as a 3-pitch pitcher:

  • Fastball (92.8 mph average last year, which is about where he’s been his career), throwing it 51% of the time, last year.
  • Slider (85.4 mph average last year) throwing hit 29.7% of the time.
  • Change up (85.3 mph) throwing it 19.3% of the time.

Francisco pitched his first two innings of the spring yesterday, I thought he looked great.

PECOTA predicts 28 starts, 168 innings (exactly 6 innings per start), 4.27 ERA, 1.4 WAR. ZiPS has him at 28 starts, 158 innings, 4.22 ERA.

I’m hoping he comes in below both those ERA guesses. Let’s make the over/under 4.00.

What are you expecting from Francisco this season?