Francisco Liriano Will Be Most Dominant Starter
On paper, Francisco Liriano may look like the 5th starter in a rotation, where any of the five hurlers could be the opening day starter for Manager John Gibbons. Liriano suffered a scary injury on a comebacker during the postseason, but is recovered and ready in his first full season as a Blue Jay.
GM Ross Atkins made a bold acquisition when dealing Drew Hutchison for not only Liriano, but promising prospects Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez last summer. Liriano was reacquainted with catcher Russell Martin and is destined for greatness in 2017.
The 33-year old lefty posted a 2.92 earned run average in 8 starts with the Jays last season and has been unhittable so far this spring. Liriano has yet to surrender a run this preseason tossing five scoreless innings while fanning eight and only walking one batter thus far.
My prediction for Liriano is an 18-5 record with a 2.87 earned run average this season good for the best win total and ERA on the staff. Yes, even better than Aaron Sanchez.
Look for Liriano to find the strike zone more consistently under the game calling of Martin for the entire season and the whiff totals to climb to career highs.
A season on the horizon that will make the Blue Jays ponder re-signing Liriano before he hits free agency at season’s end.
Book it. 18+ wins and an ERA in the neighborhood of 2.87.