By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Photo: Patrick Cavey
Jesus Liranzo, a 22 year old native of the Dominican Republic, is starting to show why the Baltimore Orioles added him to the 40-man roster last November.
Pitching in the Class-AA Eastern League for the Bowie Baysox, Liranzo has a 1-3 record with 2 saves in 23 games in 2017. His ERA stands at 4.79 with a 1.52 WHIP; opponents are batting .239 against him. Liranzo has struck out 48 batters and strike out per 9 innings pitched comes in at 10.45.
Liranzo began the 2017 season in the bullpen and in 16 relief appearances he had a 6.85 ERA, 1.79 WHIP and .264 batting average against. Additionally, he walked 17 and hit 3 batters in 22.1 innings pitched.
In the middle of June the Orioles converted Liranzo to a starter and the improvement has been dramatic. Here are the numbers: 7 starts, 19.0 innings pitched, 2.37 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .206 batting average against, 9 walks and 1 hit by pitch. The conversion to starter is exactly what the team has done with other relievers as discussed by Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun These numbers show why the Orioles placed him on the 40-man roster and why he is a top prospect.
Liranzo has a lively arm with a fastball in the high 90 mph range and can hit triple digits on the radar gun. He compliments his fastball with an above-average slider but has struggled with his control.
Valued for his power arm, Liranzo will surely be given as much time as he needs to make all the necessary changes and improvements; keep in mind he is on average 3 years younger than his Class-AA counterparts. He has the two “P’s”: power and potential. One change he does need to make however is to induce more ground ball outs as his 0.37 ground out/fly out ratio demonstrates.
Should the rest of the 2017 season progress like the last 7 games have, Liranzo may even move up in his ranking. It is worth the trip to Bowie to watch this young man pitch. Highly rated by both the Orioles and Baby Birdland, Liranzo will not disappoint. It is fun to watch pitchers with pop.
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