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.