Rymer Liriano: Is He An Upgrade For A Struggling Padres Outfield?
The San Diego Padres have had a rough 2014 with few players performing above replacement level. In Double-A, the recently-turned 23-year old Rymer Liriano had 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases with the San Antonio Missions before a promotion.With the Padres floundering and the top-100 prospect regaining his form after missing all of 2013 with an injury, how long will San Diego be able to keep him in the minor leagues?
At an even six feet, 230 pounds, Rymer Liriano has a chiseled, muscular frame. He possesses impressive strength and his body is maxed out without sacrificing speed and defense. Watch for regression in those areas if he adds additional size.
Liriano possesses tremendous bat speed and showed it off by yanking a 95 mph heater boring in on him foul down the left field line. However, bat speed also causes a pull-happy approach, even in batting practice. Over the course of multiple rounds in the cage, he hit all of one or two balls the opposite way, a habit which will cause troubles on outer-half pitches at the major league level.
At present, Liriano has too much swing-and-miss in his game. Pitch recognition is the root cause of his tendency to whiff, resulting in a high strikeout rate. He is out in front on too many off-speed pitches and is off-balance often. What he does do well is keep his hands back even when lunging at off-speed pitches, allowing him to poke balls into the outfield when misreading a change-up or breaking pitch.
Liriano’s best tool is his power. He flashes plus raw power in batting practice, hitting ball-after-ball well over the left field fence. The top-100 prospect possesses power to all fields — even if not utilized with his present swing. The power translates to game action as well, with three consecutive double-digit home run seasons. Included is a 420-foot shot hit entirely out of the ballpark in Frisco on a pitch he “missed”. This home run is an in-game example which shows the kind of strength and bat speed he possesses.
Speed-wise, Liriano is average. This allows him to be an adequate defender in left field, a position normally manned by the weakest of the outfield defenders. He is unpolished, taking shoddy routes and showing poor hands. Even with average range, Liriano’s defense needs improvement to be break even.
Despite playing mostly left field this season, Liriano’s speed and strength combination, along with a plus arm allows the possibility of a career in right field if the defensive ability improves. Rymer Liriano was yet another victim of a UCL tear and missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, so a chance exists his defensive problems are a result of rust and not skill.
His speed also allows him to avoid being a base-clogger on the basepaths. He should be able to steal about 10 bases a year and take the extra base when possible. At his size, expecting much more than that would be silly. However, Liriano showed a poor feel for baserunning, making fundamental errors such as taking off for third on a routing ground ball to the shortstop.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Average Everyday Left Fielder Hitting Ability 40 45 Power 45 55 Speed 50 50 Fielding Ability 45 45 Arm 55 60
Owning Rymer Liriano
League average outfielders are a valuable fantasy asset and Liriano projects to be one. Recently promoted to Triple-A, trade deadline deals will have him in San Diego by September 1, if not sooner. Statistically, Brandon Phillips is a favorable comp in just about every category. A line consistently around .260/.320 with 20 or so home runs is a reasonable projection for Rymer Liriano. He will never be a fantasy difference-maker, but would be a worthwhile addition in keeper and dynasty leagues.
25 Jul 2014 / Grant Schiller /
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