Welcome back, Francisco?

Last year, Francisco Liriano was a disappointing 5-13 with an ERA of 5.80.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In none of Francisco Liriano's 29 appearances last season did he pitch as well as he did in yesterday's stellar outing against the Boston Red Sox. Liriano was masterful, throwing seven innings of four-hit, shutout baseball, while striking out eight and walking just two.

In fact, it was probably his best outing since his "Tommy John" surgery in November 2006.

Johan Santana along with Liriano were a dominating duo in Minnesota back in 2006. Santana was the AL Cy Young Award winner going 19-6 that season with 245 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.77 and a WHIP of 1.00. Liriano was then just 22-years-old and showing great promise. The youngster was being brought around slowly and didn't get his first start until May 19th. Despite that, he was a stunning 12-3 with and ERA of 2.16 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Then on August 1st, after a 10-strikeout performance a week earlier, Liriano missed his start with inflammation to the elbow. He tried to come back, but was eventually put on the disabled list and had the Tommy John surgery in the winter of 2006.

Liriano missed all of 2007 and pitched just 76 innings in 2008. Last year, he was a disappointing 5-13 with an ERA of 5.80 and a WHIP of 1.55. He was irrelevant to fantasy owners in 2009 and based on his pre-season ADP (Average Draft Position) of 217.5, wasn't thought to be much of a factor this season.

Still, he won the No.5 starting job for the Twins this spring.

Liriano's first start against the Chicago White Sox, was more of what we saw in 2009 - yielding three runs over six innings with five walks. Nothing to write home about or get excited enough to pick him up off the waiver wire.

Then yesterday he threw out a seven-inning gem which should get him some attention. If it is indeed true that Liriano is back, and we should know a lot more after his outing next Wednesday versus the Cleveland Indians, then he could be a huge bargain. Owned in 63% of all leagues, he's certainly worth taking a "flyer" on, considering the upside.

Francisco Liriano Career Statistics

YearGmWLSvIPHBBKERAWHIP
2005612023.2197335.701.10
2006281231121.089321442.161.00
20081464076.07432673.911.39
2009295130136.2147651225.801.55
2010210013.087112.081.15


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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