Monday, July 25, 2011

Liriano Overvalued

Francisco Liriano has been one of the players most overvalued by Twins fans. Part of this is the flashes of dominance that happen occasionally. Part of it is that many fans overvalue strikeouts. Liriano is one of the few Twins starters who often depends on strikeouts for his success. Although that was not the case in his no hitter, leading one local blogger to suggest it wasn't such a great game. Arguing he was more dominant in a game where he struck out more batters, but gave up several hits and runs. But while strikeouts are nice, more outs by any method and fewer hits and walks lead to fewer runs.

Liriano's problem is that, while he is brilliant at times, he is not consistent. What you are looking for in an "ace" is a stopper. A guy who ends a losing streak, virtually guarantees you seven innings to rest the bullpen and will consistently give the team a good chance to win. Liriano does none of those things. He is a good pitcher, who fits nicely into the middle of the rotation. But the top of the Twins rotation are guys like Baker and Pavano who are more likely to get batters out consistently. Of course, what you really want is a guy like Johan Santana who could both dominate and do it consistently. But those guys are few and far between. If they stay healthy, they end up in the Hall of Fame. Liriano does not appear to be in that category.

Pennant Race Update

Here is the current state of the Twins efforts to get back in the pennant race as of July 25, 2011:

Division Leader's (Tigers) Pace - 87 wins
Twins winning percentage needed to get to 87 wins - .656

This is the highest percentage of wins they have needed since July 7th when it was .658. You can see the history and get updates this at the link above.

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