#7 – SP/RP Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano had a great three-year run with the Bucs from 2013 to 2015. In these three seasons Liriano posted a 3.26 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP. He struck out 9.6 batters per 9 innings, and rarely gave up long balls (0.7 HR/9).
Liriano had played an integral part in the Pirates’ playoff runs, including starting the 2013 NL Wild Card Game. On that unforgettable night the left-handed starter went 7 innings, gave up just a single run on four hits, a walk, and he struck out five Cincinnati Reds batters.
As a starter, Liriano is ranked 4th in pitcher fWAR in Pirate history, while his K/9 during the three year run ranks 9th among all MLB pitchers during that time period. No other Pirates’ starter has averaged more strikeouts per 9 than Liriano’s 9.51 K/9.
Liriano’s first tenure with the Bucs may have ended unceremoniously after struggling in 2016 and salary dumped to the Toronto Blue Jays, but he returned to the Pirates in 2019 as a relief pitcher. Although he did have a 4.53 FIP and 1.36 WHIP, Liriano still provided 70 innings out of the pen of 3.47 ERA, 123 ERA+ ball. Not bad for someone who was brought in on a minor league deal.