Wednesday, September 14, 2005

King Felix vs. King Francisco

If you're a baseball rube, like you should be if you're reading baseball blogs, you'd know that Francisco Liriano, arguably the best pitching prospect in baseball not named Felix Hernandez, made his first major league start today against the Detroit Tigers. Liriano went 5 innings, giving up 2 ER on 2 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. Liriano left the game on the hook, and to my surprise, the Twins actually managed to score a run after his departure to take him off the hook. The 2 run that Liriano gave up were via the HR, which seems to be the only way he's giving up runs since being called up. Since being called up, Liriano has thrown 7 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 ER, walked 1 and struck out 11. If you're doing the math at home, that equates to a 0.57 WHIP, 3.86 ERA, and a whoppin' 14.14 K/9 rate. Hernandez on the other hand has thrown 58 innings, allowing 38 hits, 13 walks and 55 strikeouts. His ERA currently stands at 2.33, which took a bit of inflation after his first bad start against the Orioles 3 days ago.

But enough about that. I thought that with both Hernandez and Liriano making their ML debuts in the same year, and with both being touted as the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, that'd I'd do a little comparison between the two. Granted that Hernandez has had more MLB experience than Liriano, I'm going to compare their numbers at AAA, and which one looks to have more success at the Major League level.

At AAA Rochester, Liriano was 9-2, with a 1.78 ERA in 91 innings pitched. He gave up 56 hits, 24 walks, and 112 strikeouts. Between AA and AAA, Liriano led the minor leagues in strikeouts, which is a pretty impressive feat. Hernandez was 9-4 for Tacoma with a 2.25 ERA in 88 innings pitched. He surrended 62 hits, 48 walks, and 100 strikeouts. Granted that the Pacific Coast League, which Hernandez pitched in, is considered more of a hitter's park than the International League that Liriano pitched in. But both had very impressive numbers at AAA.

Liriano, 21 and Hernandez, 19 both look to be on their way to very impressive and successful Major League careers. Both the Twins and Mariners organizations have done a very good job protecting these two from possible injury, which in my mind, would be the only thing that would derail any success that either has at this level. If the Mariners can sign another young arm, or develop another young arm, they could have a very potent 1-2 punch with King Felix. The Twins starting rotation however looks to be headed in the right direction already with Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano both anchoring the rotation for years to come. Two power lefties possibly back to back...Wow, what a combination.

Both Felix and Francisco have proven their share that they shall be known as the "Kings" of the young pitchers in all of baseball.


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7:45 PM  

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