Exploring the Arsenal – Francisco Liriano

Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. For a general guide to pitch types for a right-handed pitcher, please check out this image created by Sons of Sam Horn. Graphs are courtesy of Brooks Baseball and The Hardball Times , unless otherwise specified.

Pitch Types  
FA: Four-Seam Fastball FT: Two-Seam Fastball FC: Cutter
CU: Curveball SL: Slider CH: Changeup
FS: Splitter SI: Sinker

 

Wednesday, 7:05 PM – Francisco Liriano

Liriano underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2006 and has battled inconsistent velocity ever since. That velocity is back up this season, after additional arm injuries hindered him in 2011. His fastball has sat around 92-94 MPH since he returned to the rotation in late May, topping out at 95. His four-seamer is pretty hittable, but his two-seamer shows good arm-side movement and has missed a ton of bats so far this year. Liriano’s nasty mid 80’s slider is his best strikeout pitch, with an elite whiff rate of about 42% in 2012. His mid 80’s changeup is also very difficult to put in play, giving him three legitimate strikeout pitches. Here are his 2012 whiff rates (whiff/swing) per pitch type, courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Whiff/Swing

Four-seam Two-seam Slider Changeup
Liriano 2012 9.21% 20.18% 42.29% 38.98%
League Average* 16.40% 11.90% 31.90% 29.70%

 
Unfortunately for Liriano, his control has deserted him over the past two years. Since the beginning of 2011, Liriano’s 13.1% walk rate is the second highest among pitchers with at least 150 innings. From FanGraphs, here are the percentages of his pitches that have been inside the strike zone.

Zone Percentage

Liriano League
2010 43.3% 46.5%
2011 39.7% 45.3%
2012 37.3% 45.4%

 
*Courtesy of Harry Pavlidis
 

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Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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