Monday, May 3, 2010

Francisco Liriano: Steal of the year?

Francisco Liriano was the AL pitcher of the month for April.

He may end up being the steal of the year in fantasy.

Liriano has sparkled so far for the Twins - 4-0, 1.50 ERA, 36 Ks and 13 BBs in 36 innings. This came on the heels of the left-hander absolutely dominating winter league ball and throwing his name in the hat as a fantasy sleeper for 2010.

We all remember Liriano from that superb 2006, when he looked like the second coming of Johan Santana in a Twins uniform. Unfortunately, we also remember his 2007, which was cut short by major elbow surgery, and his ill-fated 2008 campaign (5-13, 5.80 ERA).

But now, Liriano seems to have regained that magical form as he puts the elbow troubles behind him. His velocity is back up. He hasn't allowed a homer yet this year after serving up 21 longballs in 136 innings last season. He's holding opponents to a .206 average after they raked him at a .279 clip last year. And he's getting almost twice as many ground outs as flyouts this season, a ratio similar to his breakout 2006 but one which withered the past two years.

I believe Liriano's health and consistency will hold up for the long haul this time. If you rolled the dice on him in your draft or picked him up on the waiver wire in the early going, give yourself a pat on the back and don't think about trading him at this point.

Photo by The Associated Press

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