LHP Fransisco Liriano is the best fifth starter in all of Major League Baseball.
In 29 starts (with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays), Liriano posted a 4.69 ERA, although he only had a 2.92 ERA with the Jays (August – October 2016).
Liriano has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball, and has continued to prove that in Toronto. He has been the best pitcher the Jays have used in Spring Training, striking out 10 batters in 4 innings pitched in his latest spring training start on Monday.
John Gibbons has previously shared that any one of the five starting pitchers in the rotation would be a good fit to pitch on opening day, and that could not be more true. With the ace of the staff (Aaron Sanchez), ace of the post season (Marco Estrada), ace of 2015 (Marcus Stroman), 20+ game winner (J.A. Happ) and the secret weapon (Francisco Liriano), it is impossible for Gibbons and the pitching staff to make a bad choice about the order of the rotation.
If one of the five starters needs to skip a start, Liriano is someone you can always count on to keep the Jays in the game. Along with being very consistent, he is also extremely reliable.
In 2016, he relied primarily on his Sinker using a Two-seam Fastball grip (93mph) and Slider (86mph), also mixing in a Change (86mph) and Fourseam Fastball (94mph). He also rarely threw a Curve (80mph).
2017 is going to be a very interesting year for the Toronto Blue Jays, but I think it’ll be a good one for Francisco Liriano.