I have to hand it to Portland’s Radhames Liz. I thought the idea to convert him back to starting was insane, but he’s made some strides with his command, walking just 11 batters in 31 innings while punching out 35.
That’s a 3.18 K/BB ratio and 3.19 BB/9, which are good rates.
Liz still has some issues with righties due to his lack of a quality breaking pitch, but he’s shut down lefthanders this year. If he can polish up the slider and/or use his plus changeup more to righties, he might be able to cut it as a big league starter.
It’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon for a guy like Liz the second he puts together a few solid starts where he isn’t walking everybody. It happened with Daniel Cabrera for years–you always think the thrower is about to turn the corner and become a pitcher with great stuff.
Cabrera’s career is a cautionary tale for anointing Liz as a future quality starter after just 31 innings of work, so let’s not get too excited yet. But keep an eye on Liz. If he keeps this up for another 50 innings, the Padres might want to think about dealing Jon Garland to make room for the former Orioles fireballer in the rotation (and getting prospects back to boot).