Radhames Liz Sees Early Success in a Starting Role

The Pirates signed Radhames Liz over the off-season after the hard throwing right-hander excelled in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He spent the first part of the year as a reliever in Pittsburgh, but didn’t fare well in the role and was outrighted to Triple-A. In his time with Indianapolis, Liz has moved back to a starting role, with a need for starters facilitating that move. While he is still getting stretched out for the role, Liz has been extremely strong in his first two starts.

In his first start, Liz was only allowed to throw 45 pitches on June 26, but 33 were for strikes. Over this span, Liz worked four innings, allowing just one hit and one hit batter, while striking out six.

On Wednesday, in his second start, he was just as strong. In fact, he was able to throw 75 pitches, and 47 were for strikes. In five innings, Liz allowed three hits, two walks, and one run, while striking out seven.

The main issue for Liz in the big leagues this year was the struggle to command the ball. In his early action as a starter, he has excelled in just that.

Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said that Liz is likely to stay in the rotation for the time being, after he replaced an injured Casey Sadler initially. Treanor said that the focus in side sessions allow him to get back to the pitcher that the Pirates coveted so highly during the offseason.

“I think that right now, the most important thing is for him to stay in the rotation here, where he has that side day,” Treanor said. “We had a side going into [the first start] that was very good. He was talking about some things that he was doing last winter that he wasn’t doing here, with his delivery and so on.”

Treanor said that this is how Liz looked over the winter and the reason that the Pirates worked so hard to bring him in.

While he only allowed one run in three relief appearances with Indianapolis, the control has been so much better for him as a starter. With the improved control, the velocity has not dropped off at all. Liz stays between 95 and 97 with the fastball and has even touched 99 on a few occasions.

With the power, Liz is able to work up in the zone and move the ball around to use the entire strike zone. With the new command, he is able to do just that.

Getting ahead in the count also allows him to use his 84 MPH breaking ball to put hitters away.

Despite the early season struggles for Liz, the success as a starter allows him to showcase the upside that had the Pirates so excited about him over the winter. It is the same excitement that could easily get the right hander back on the radar.

  • The Pirates have been very smart how they have handled Liz. The contract they gave made it easy for them to outright him without the risk of losing him on waivers. Smart use of $ to keep a live arm in the organization.

  • It is good that he is starting, perhaps he can help in the second half if Locke is still struggling. I rather try to improve internally then giving up the farm for a few month rental player that may or may not provide any additional help. I look at the Pirates as having a very strong team. They have the 3rd best record in baseball and the 2nd best in the NL. If those dam Cardinals would lose like all the other teams the Pirates would take the division, as is.

    • Interestingly enough, if the Pirates take care of business against the cards this coming 4 game series, just winning the series and taking 3 of 4, the Pirates would, as we sit here today, be only 4 games out of 1st place in the division.

      • Bucs have to overcome the Padres at PNC curse before worrying about the Cards. Bucs have never won a series vs Pads in history of PNC Park.

Menu