I remember in the summer of 2006 when a young lefty took the mound for the Twins. No, not Johan Santana, but he proved to be just as good, if not better. Liriano was doing bullpen duties for most of the year until he got a chance to start. And when he did, boy did turn some heads. With essentially the same repertoire of pitches as Santana, Liriano proceeded to tear up American League hitters. He wound up going 12-3, with 144 strikeouts in 121 innings over 28 games, 16 of which he started. It looked like the second coming of Santana, and I was so excited to draft him in my fantasy league. Being a fan of baseball, you love seeing a new young pitcher become that successful at such a young age.
Then it happened.
This new Ace in the making blew out his arm, requiring Tommy John ligament surgery. That violent delivery was just too much for his left elbow. He missed the entire 2007 season, and the Twins missed him dearly. Reports are saying he's recovered very well and has even become more fit than ever. He's up to 225 pounds, the result of off-season strength training and adding upper body muscle that was lacking in previous season. His hopes are this new , more tone version of himself will prevent him from killing his arm again. I hope he's right, because I would love to see him get back to his 2006 form, when he was striking out roughly 10.7 batter per 9 innings. I'm sure Twins fans feel the same way. With Santana now gone, Liriano could become their next CY Young winning lefty.