The Greatest Hits of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Wizard Ray Searage
By Steve Kubitz
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Liriano was absolutely dynamic early in his career with the Minnesota Twins. He, along with Johan Santana made up perhaps the best one-two punch in all of baseball. Following his tremendous rookie season, Liriano struggled with consistency and eventually found himself out of Minnesota. After a brief stint with the Chicago White Sox, Liriano signed with the Pirates and much like the previous pitchers mentioned, instantly found success with Ray Searage.
The first thing Liriano changed upon arriving in Pittsburgh was relying on his slider as his primary pitch instead of his fastball and the results were incredible. Batters still cannot time Liriano’s slider and he makes some great hitters look absolutely foolish.
Francisco Liriano also started using his change-up as a secondary pitch and much like his slider, the results make plenty of great hitters look like Little Leaguers.
WAR Totals Before Searage: 2011: 0.7; 2012: -0.4
WAR Totals w/ Searage: 2013: 3.0; 2014: 1.6 2015: 2.6 *in progress
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- Used fastball as primary pitch and slider as secondary pitch before getting to Pittsburgh with mixed results.
- Fastball in 2011, MLB hit: .305AVG/.430OBP/.433SLG/.863OPS/156wRC+
- 2012: .390AVG/.491OBP/.674SLG/1.165OPS/220wRC+
- 2013, upon coming to Pittsburgh, used Slider as primary pitch and a 2-seem fastball as secondary with tremendous results.
- Slider in 2013, MLB hit: .146AVG/.224OBP/.211SLG/.435OPS/37wRC+
- 2014, Liriano used a slider/change-up combo to be exceptionally tough to hit.
- Slider: .170AVG/.233OBP/.293SLG/.526OPS/59wRC+
- Change-up: .173AVG/.233OBP/.228SLG/.461OPS/42wRC+
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