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July 14, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Francisco Liriano's Unconvincing Impression of a Minnesota Twin

by Ben Lindbergh

Francisco Liriano throws hard. He misses bats. He also misses the strike zone. In other words, he's never seemed much like a Minnesota Twin. Still, we went along with his act, as long as he wore the uniform and from time to time let Ron Gardenhire tell him to pitch to contact. But on Friday night, he completely blew his cover, striking out 15 batters in a loss to the A's. Fifteen batters! That's more than Nick Blackburn strikes out in most months​. 

If Liriano won't even try to look like a Twin, we won't be complicit in the cover-up. You can see the video evidence here.

The stats tell a similar story about the lie Liriano is living:

Starter

Fastball Velo

K/9

BB/9

Starts by Natives of Spanish-Speaking Countries

Francisco Liriano

93.3

9.4

4.7

15

All others

89.0

4.9

2.3

1


Ten pitchers other than Liriano have started at least one game for the Twins this season. In those starts, they've collectively thrown their fastballs more than four miles per hour slower, walked batters less than half as often, and struck them out at around half the rate. Since Johan Santana was traded to the Mets after the 2007 season, six of the Twins' 12 starts with at least 10 strikeouts and 11 of the Twins' 17 starts with at least five walks have been made by Liriano. And if not for Samuel Deduno's single start and Lester Oliveros' lone appearance in relief, Liriano would have been the sole Hispanic pitcher on the staff.
 
Look, Liriano, this has gone on long enough. It's mid-July, and the Twins are out of contention. You're a free agent at the end of the year. It's time to orchestrate a trade. Tell Terry Ryan you're tired of pretending to be a Twin and want to be traded to a team that employs more Liriano-like pitchers. That should shrink the pool of potential trade partners to 29. Then string together a couple more high-strikeout starts, and soon you'll be pitching somewhere that makes more sense than Minnesota.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

5 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Shaun P.
(676)

Sometimes I've wondered if the reason Liriano has been so inconsistent in his career is because the Twins simply have no coach who knows how to coach a Liriano-like pitcher. Santana was different, too, but he walked a lot fewer batters, so that was something coaches could relate to.

No snark here, BTW. This is a serious thought. The Twins organization is so full of pitch to contact, don't walk anyone, type pitchers, and has been for so long, I really do wonder is Liriano is too much of an outlier for their coachig staff.

Jul 14, 2012 06:51 AM
rating: 9
 
amazin_mess

He is going to make a nice addition for someone.

Jul 14, 2012 06:53 AM
rating: 3
 
Brock Dahlke

The Twins make me sad

Jul 15, 2012 00:32 AM
rating: 2
 
leites

Well put, Mr. Lindbergh.

Jul 15, 2012 20:23 PM
rating: 0
 
iorg34

In the last ten years, the Twins have probably reared more Spanish speaking lefthanders who've recorded 15+ Ks in a game than the rest of MLB.

Jul 16, 2012 12:57 PM
rating: 2
 
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