Francisco Liriano was a surprise addition (acquired via trade with Pittsburgh) to the Jays' roster late in the season. With the Pirates, Liriano posted a disgusting 5.46 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 113.2 innings and 21 starts. Once reunited with his former catcher Russell Martin in Toronto, the veteran managed a sweet-looking 2.92 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 49.1 innings and 10 appearances (eight starts). Liriano proved there is plenty left in the tank by rounding out 2016 with a 1.46 ERA in his last four starts, including a 10-strikeout performance in his season finale. Mainly due to his time in the NL, the southpaw's overall numbers from last season are less than impressive. The 33-year-old's 9.28 K/9 was great but completely negated by a terrible 4.69 BB/9. Liriano's 1.44 HR/9 and 4.89 FIP both ranked among the 10 worst marks in MLB. He should be a mainstay in Toronto's rotation in 2017, but despite his high marks with Martin and Toronto, he's best handled cautiously for use in fantasy leagues.
Liriano pitched 4.2 innings Monday against the Twins, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk while racking up a whopping 10 strikeouts. Liriano now has a 1.86 ERA with an 18:2 K:BB over 9.2 spring innings. After the contest, Jays manager John Gibbons praised his veteran lefty , "I can't say enough good things about him. He looks really good this spring. I think he's going to have a big, big year. I really do. He's capable of that." As Opening Day approaches, Liriano says his repertoire of pitches all feel great coming out of his hand and his main focus now will be locating his fastball. The 33-year-old has proven from the start of spring training that he can be a very valuable -- and yet affordable -- fantasy asset this year.
Liriano pitched three near-perfect innings, holding the Phillies hitless and walking one while striking out five in Thursday's exhibition game. The veteran lefty now has eight strikeouts over his first five innings of Grapefruit League action. Liriano's early-spring dominance is a strong indicator of what he's capable of accomplishing even at the age of 33. The mechanical adjustments he's made since joining Toronto late last season have produced noticeable improvements. Liriano may have been a nice sleeper pick when camp opened, but his value is quickly trending up as Opening Day inches closer.
Liriano pitched two scoreless innings while allowing two hits and fanning three Yankees in Friday's exhibition game. Liriano opened his spring with a strong performance as he effortlessly cruised through two frames. The veteran left-hander has made mechanical adjustments since joining the Jays last season and the club has high expectations for the 33-year-old as he embarks on his 12th MLB season. Liriano's overall numbers in 2016 are unappealing, but he improved once moving north of the border and should be available for a good value in upcoming drafts.
Liriano, under the guidance of Jays' pitching coach Pete Walker, has worked on adjusting his release point to match what he'd done during his most successful years in Pittsburgh, SB Nation reports. Much of Liriano's late-season success last year in Toronto (after being acquired from Pittsburgh) was attributed to him reuniting with his former catcher Russell Martin, but there may be a better explanation. After two strong seasons, the southpaw struggled early in 2015 before being traded north of the border. Liriano and Walker identified a mechanical flaw that had the veteran opening his front shoulder too much and leaving his throwing arm hanging out to dry. A correction was made to have Liriano keep his front-side closed, and the 33-year-old ran off a stretch of four-straight quality starts to end 2016. Liriano's overall 4.69 ERA and 8-13 record from a year ago may lead many owners to undervalue him in upcoming drafts. However, there are indicators that would suggest Liriano may be back to the dominant form he displayed in his first two seasons with Pittsburgh (2014-2015).
Liriano (concussion) has been cleared and is available out of the bullpen Saturday, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. This was anticipated, and it gives the Blue Jays a quality left-handed arm with the potential to log multiple innings out of the bullpen going forward in the ALCS.