Francisco Liriano is looking like the 2010 version, or better. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
I use the "small sample size" disclaimer a lot on this site, so it's important to note that everything Francisco Liriano has done so far this season comes with that same disclaimer. Having said that, what Francisco Liriano has done so far is cause for some excitement. In five starts, Liriano has a 2.17 ERA in 29 innings, with a 12.1 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9 ratio. Unlike other starters who are putting up strong numbers in the rotation, Liriano isn't projected to regress. He's actually projected to improve, with a 1.30 FIP. That's mostly due to an unlucky .342 BABIP.
There are plenty of things to like about Liriano so far. Consider...
**The low walk rate. The big concern coming into the season was his high walk total in 2011 and 2012. Both seasons had a BB/9 ratio around 5.0. This year he's down around the levels he was at in his big 2010 and 2006 seasons.
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.