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A guy craps the bed and I get excited.  Hmm… Maybe I should work at a convalescent home.  Last year, Francisco Liriano had a line of 5-13/5.80/1.55/122 in 136 2/3 innings.  That makes Jason Marquis shudder.  Did Dr. Freeze operate on the wrong arm? To paraphrase Dirt Nasty, what a shame, never thought Liriano would turn out this way… Reverse alas, that was last year. It’s a brand new day, Sting.  According to St. Paul Pioneer Press, Liriano was heating it up in the Winter Leagues as he prepped for the 2010 season.  The Pioneer Press also had a two page editorial on the opening of Duluth’s third Pizza Hut, so let’s take hometown fervor with a grain of salt.  But still Francisco Liriano is a 2010 fantasy baseball sleeper, so what say you, 2nd paragraph?

Last year, Liriano was not only coming back from Tommy John surgery but he was also battling health setbacks every step of the way.  His walks went up from a pre-op 2.38 BB/9 to 4.28 last year, but pitchers have known to have initial control problems when returning from TJ surgery. (That’s not Tijuana surgery, which was beautifully captured in that Felicity Huffman movie that always manages to come on TV right when you, your father and grandfather sit down with a few beers.  Grey, see what else is on. All right, Pop… Here’s The World According to Garp… Hey, it’s the guy from Third Rock. *awkward two hour silence*  That was good, but don’t tell your Mom we watched it.)  Pre-op his fastball regularly sat around 94 MPH.  Last year, Liriano was hitting 91, which was up from the 90 MPH he threw in 2008 when he first returned.  Now in the Dominican he’s being clocked at 92-94.  That’s a good trend.  In Liriano’s final two starts of the year in the DR, he threw 10 scoreless with only two walks and 10 Ks.  Finally, his sleeperosity is as much about Liriano as it’s about the schmohawks Kevin Jepsen, Barry Zito, Joe Saunders… Otherwise known as guys being drafted around the same time as Liriano.  (BTW, I just wasted 15 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back trying to figure out why people are drafting Jepsen.  Rodney will step in if Fuentes proves incapable.)  As I write this… and this… and this… and this… and (well, you get the point), Liriano isn’t even guaranteed a starting spot, but I think he gets the starting spot and posts a low 4 ERA with good Ks, making him a solid 2010 fantasy baseball sleeper.  Think 2010 projections of 12-9/4.05/1.34/155.

51 Responses

  1. AdamK says:
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    A third pizza hut? That’s crazy. There’s a reason little ceasers went out of business.

  2. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    Hey! No ripping on Duluth!

  3. zk says:
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    If you’re taking requests today: Drew Stubbs. +/- .260/12/60/30.

  4. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    By the way, Grey. I can’t wait until your much anticipated second interview of Matthew Berry.

  5. Mikey boy324 says:
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    Grey in a 12 team 5-5 roto weekly league I can start 9 pitchers a week this is the only league that’s not daily which I’m not too thrilled about but I’m a lil confused on how many closers do you start being that you can only start 9 pitchers per week?

  6. zk says:
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    Grey: (I’m) in a 12 team 5-5 roto weekly league. I can start 9 pitchers a week. This is the only league (that I’m in) that’s not daily (which I’m not too thrilled about) but I’m a lil confused: How many closers do you start?

    Sorry, but that had to be done.

  7. Mikey boy324 says:
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    What’s wrong with that question?

  8. zk says:
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    @Mikey boy324: Nothing. Other than it was hard to read. It’s actually a great question. I’d say, based on the information, that you should always target 3 closers in a 12-team roto league. But I think it’s odd a league would choose weekly lineups AND roto scoring. Doesn’t make much sense. Unless you mean there’s no bench. In which case, it makes perfect sense.

    In my experience, you can’t punt a category. I don’t think taking three closers in a league like that is going overboard.

  9. Mikey boy324 says:
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    The thing is I usually play 12 team h2h leagues with some buddies but I’m looking to step up the competetion a lil so one of my friends recomended the nfbc leagues in which it’s 12 team roto but for whatever reason it’s a weekly format which I don’t get either but all of there tournaments are like that Thats why i was lil confused on how many closets I should start per week

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AdamK: Hehe

    @IowaCubs: re: Berry — I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    @Mikey boy324: You want at least 3 closers to get around a 7 or 8 points. Assuming you’re active and able to grab closers off waivers. If you’re very active, 2 might be fine, but it’s risky. I’ll have anywhere from 2 to 5 closers depending how quickly I grab them off waivers and how quickly they lose the job.

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @zk: Oh, and under on power there, just over on speed and under on average. I have projections of Stubbs in the top 60 outfielder post.

  12. matthole says:
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    @Grey: Throughout the season youd try to START 2-5 closers for your 9 pitching spots…..or roster 2-5 of them (have a few on bench, etc)

    essentially, you’re only targeting 5-6 quality SP’s and fill the rest in with closers?

  13. zk says:
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    @matthole: in a good to very good league you’re never going to roster 5-6 quality SP’s. (Unless you’re counting on guys like Orlando Cabrera and Adam Laroche on offense…) I’ve found that high K/9 and low WHIP middle relievers should take at least 1 spot on a roster at all times. Sometimes 2. (Especially in a league where most teams won’t be able to roster more than 5 SP’s worth owning…)

    In a highly competitive 12-team roto league, I almost always go:

    SP, SP, SP, SP, SP, K/9MR, K/9MR or CL, CL, CL.

    It seems to me that I’d rather have Tyler Clippard’s numbers (projected out to a full season) on my roto squad than Carlos Zambrano’s. Especiallly when that 18th round pick could have been used on a 4th OF.

    Overdoing it on SP’s rarely leads to more Wins as much as it leads to inflated ERA and WHIP totals.

  14. zk says:
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    @Grey: Thanks. I’m thinking he’s more Dickerson than Votto. But at league minimum in an NL-only keeper league, I’m trying to get my fellow owners to think bigger.

  15. Eddy says:
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    Grey does the 70 innings jump from ’08 to ’09 for Kershaw worry you at all going into 2010?

  16. mikey boy324 says:
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    thanks for the advice always much appreciated

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @matthole: I’m targeting 6-7 starters in a draft, 3-4 closers and a setup man or two. With 9 starters and 3 bench spots, there’s room. No one holds onto all of their starters the whole year or DLs happen. Either way, there will be room to add more closers in waiting and setup men in-season. Or add more starters. Pitching is pretty fluid post draft.

    @Eddy: Sure, but things worry me about almost all pitchers. Greinke’s FIP was above his ERA last year, Verlander’s terrible in April, Hamels wasn’t good last year… There’s concerns all over.

    EDIT: Word.

  18. matthole says:
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    @Grey: agreed, the group of arroyo, dlr, buccholz, correia, other hodgers and wainwright won me the league last yr……just wanted to know your official drafting strategy for them.

  19. Steve says:
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    @Grey: I’m guessing having drafted 7 starters (if in fact you do), it means you play match-ups a lot more?

    I mean, if you ran every starter out every time, you’d be eating innings too quickly.

  20. Shogun says:
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    Loving the reports on Liriano’s recovery. I’m trying to stay skeptical because every winter Gardenhire raves about Liriano. Gardy’s spin gets us excited and then when we see Liriano pitch we get blue balls.

    Every. Season.

    But I’m excited again, I’ll admit it. This year’s hype looks more legit ’cause this time there’s evidence backing up Gardy’s usual stories about strikeouts and unicorns. This year we’re not drooling over some comment Gardy made to an overeager Pee Wees coach at a Twins Caravan stop in Fergus Falls. We’re fiending over credible reports of Liriano hitting 95-96 on his heater and going to his high-80s slider like he used to. Could his left arm come clean off on any pitch he throws? Ahh, yeah. He isn’t just at risk when he pitches, but also when he brushes his teeth and washes his hair. His ex-girlfriend said one time he stepped on a shampoo bottle in the shower and mistook it for his severed arm. She said he started putting it on ice before he realized his arm was still there. Would we tell one-armed man jokes every time Liriano’s name came up to ease the hurt of all the times he’s teased us? Maybe, maybe not. It’s harder now ’cause of Dravecky. But for now he’s got two arms and one of them is reportedly partying like it’s 2006. Just because the St. Paul newspaper broke the Liriano story the same day Duluth got its third Pizza Hut doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get excited. I know I’ve got a boner that won’t quit.

  21. Steve says:
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    @Shogun: That might just be the best comment posted on Razzball, ever.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Nah, you know what I do. Like last year, I’ll draft someone like Manny Parra — high risk/reward and Wandy — same. If a guy pans out — Wandy, great. If not — Parra, I drop them for a vet who’s sitting on waivers like Wolf. Between drafting and dropping, I end up losing innings, but it works out in the end.

    @Shogun: Ha, great comment.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: That’s awesome. You know Dirt Nasty? Check out Droppin’ Names. But it’s highly NSFW.

  24. mc serch says:
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    @Shogun: “It’s harder now cause of Dravecky” ….that shizz is funny!

  25. Eddy says:
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    @Shogun:
    haha that was a great little read!
    @Grey:
    Early depth charts reports say that Geovany Soto will bat 6th and Miguel Montero 8th. Would you still rank MiMo above GeoSo if that were the case?

    As you can see your habit of abbreviating names has caught on to me. What has Razzball done to me!

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: MiMo — hehe… That early report doesn’t change anything. Snyder could change things.

  27. Steve says:
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    @Grey: I’ll check it out.

    So, to get a lilttle more specific, when do you first start to take notice of the IP limit? I ignored it for a little too long in the RCL last year and got kinda burnt by it.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: I wouldn’t let it get too out of control at any point. Obviously through the All-Star Break you have more leeway. It’s nice to be able to start more guys during interleague since matchups tend to be favorable. I’d try to never get more than 75 innings over your pace.

  29. Eddy says:
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    I’m a little lost as to how the IP limit works. I’ve done H2H for a while and this year I’m planning on participating in the RCL for the first time.

    Can someone clarify the do’s and dont’s when concerning starting pitchers or drafting them?

    Is it wise to draft top SP and leave them on your roster (except maybe against Yanks and BoSox)? Will this make me reach the cap too fast?

    Because now I’m afraid that drafting 3 or so SP before Rd.10 will burn me.

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: Well, if there’s a 1200 IP limit, that’s 6 200 inning starters. Drop one and add three closers and you’re still at 1200, right? 1400 IP limit then 6 starters and 3 closers.

  31. Eddy says:
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    Oh wow that’s pretty intense. I can see where you really have to scrutinize the matchups. I definitely see now why you prefer pitching around the 7th or so.

    I’m still a bit lost on how a draft strat for SP would work then. For example, i just came out of a draft where SP went late and I grabbed FHer, Lester, JJ, and Nolasco by the 9th (before you anti-pitching managers say anything I all ready had a 1B/3B and 3 OFs). Would this be too excessive? I don’t want to draft 4 solid SP out of 7 total and 4 closers and then have to regret it later because they’re eating my innings up faster than anyone else. Sure, they could be trade bait, but I don’t draft to trade, I draft to keep a majority on my squad.

    Is there an “average innings per month” quota I should be hovering around?

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: re: drafting F-Her, Lester et al — It’s way too much top pitching, but you take what the draft gives you. If you were to take all of those guys against competition that knows what it’s doing, you’d have to trade some of them.

    re: per month — If there’s 1200 IP limit, there’s 6 months.

  33. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    All right thanks for clearing that up a bit

  34. Shogun says:
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    @Steve: Hehe, thanks. I’m a big Twins fan & would love to see Liriano do well this year.

  35. Asdrubal Bastardo says:
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    I love how you endorse players who just come off of bad seasons, you don’t really find that anywhere else. And those are the type of players that provide good value for their ADP. You gotta have a short-term memory in fantasy sports (thanks to a certain habit, I have no problem doing that ha!). Keep it up. Oh, and how do you feel about Zito? As a Giants fan I want to punch him in the face for robbing my favorite team of millions, but he showed improvements in the 2nd half… Thanks

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: No problem.

    @Asdrubal Bastardo: Zito’s one of those guys that isn’t drafted (currently 291 ADP) that can help you for stretches. Though I don’t think he’s much more than a waiver wire grab outside of deep leagues. Oh, and he was terrible in September and great in August, so it wasn’t like the improvements were that huge.

  37. royce! says:
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    Anyone watching the Caribbean World Series? It’s the Tecates v. the Coca-Colas! Pretty lopsided, if you ask me.

  38. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Ha, no wasn’t watching, but I hear Coca-Cola means something different in Spanish.

  39. royce! says:
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    @Grey: I still vote Tecates. Unless Coca-Cola means bourbon.

    Anyhow, I’m glad that MLB has resisted the push to put advertising on jerseys. I’d be loathe to discover what sponsors the Padres would be able to attract. Actually, I have a good guess: Petco. Fierce! Like kittens!

  40. Shogun says:
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    @mc serch: @Eddy: @Grey: Thanks! Writing it was fun.

  41. Shogun says:
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    @Grey: Does Kathryn Bigelow become THE FIRST WOMAN EVER to win an Oscar for Best Director? I tend not to relate to female-directed movies, but this year I’m pulling for K-Bigs.

    Thanks for maintaining the best fantasy baseball site on the Internet, by the way. When is a Big Boring Corporate (BBC) site like ESPN or Yahoo! going to come-a-poaching? Or are you already turning them down because they threatened to censor your reality tv content and your references to Billy Butler’s moobs? I always figured you for an indie kinda guy, so no surprise you’re not selling out.

  42. Eddy says:
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    @Shogun:
    I was actually stunned when I found out a woman directed the movie. I don’t know where she pulled that inspiration out of, but MAJOR props to her.
    @Grey:
    closers for breakfast tomorrow morning?

  43. big o says:
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    i wonder if freak is going to the super bowl .

  44. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Shogun: Yeah, that was the best movie of the year. She’s got bigger balls than the guy who directed She’s Just Not That Into You.

    @Eddy: Yup

  45. NoonTime says:
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    Grey seriously…. a Dirt Nasty drop!?

    +1980 Steve Howe rookie cards to you my friend.

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @NoonTime: Well, at least one person knows Dirt Nasty. Figured that song was appropriate on Groundhog’s Day.

  47. Steve says:
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    @Shogun: @Grey: Movie unlikely to be released here pre-Oscars, but a guy I work with has ‘acquired’ it and is going to pass it on.

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Oh, you, Kiwis.

  49. Steve says:
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    O@Grey: Hah! But when you running-dog Americans treat us like dirt, what choice do we have?
    Not ideal to be a great film in the year of a James Cameron blockbuster. LA Confidential anyone?

  50. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, that was the year Boogie Nights got robbed too.

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