Mar 5, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcherFrancisco Liriano
(47) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankeesat a spring training baseball game at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Liriano does not have the top WAR of the staff, as that honor goes to Gerrit Cole with a 2.9. Liriano projects at a 2.6 this season after posting a 1.9 last season. However, if we take a look back to 2013, Liriano posted a 3.3. After signing his 3 year/$39 million contract in the off season, it is safe to say the expectations are high.
Gerrit Cole may have the top projection among Pirates starting pitching this season, but you may be surprised to learn that Vance Worley had the third highest WAR on the staff last yer, posting a 1.6. This year he projects as a 1.4, which is higher than Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke combined, and just slightly below A.J. Burnett at 1.6. AJ struggled with the Phillies last season and posted a 1.5 WAR. His previous two seasons in Pittsburgh were 4.2 and 3.1. It would also be a welcome surprise to see AJ put up numbers similar to his previous stint with the Pirates.
Fittingly, we close our look at surprising WAR numbers with the bullpen.
Next: Closing Time