In the first player move of any note in the White Sox offseason, the team announced that it claimed outfielder Rymer Liriano, a former top 100 overall prospect, off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
Liriano, 25, missed all of 2016 after suffering facial fractures from getting hit with a fastball in spring training. He is returning to baseball by playing in the Dominican Winter League, with Tigres del Licey.
The Brewers picked him up off waivers from the Padres in January. With the Padres, Liriano had become a top-1oo prospect in baseball circa 2012-13. He stole 66 bases in 131 games in A ball in 2011. As recently as the 2012-2013 offseason, he was the 55th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, and 39th per Baseball Prospectus. But he then missed the 2013 season when he had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his elbow. Baseball America did still have him as the 23rd best prospect in San Diego system after 2015, so there clearly is still some belief in his bat speed, raw power and foot speed.
His bat hadn’t been a standout in AA and AAA, but he did have a hot streak over 16 games in the AAA Pacific Coast League, known for its hitter-friendly environments, in 2014 that helped him earn a callup to the Padres. In 121 plate appearances with the Padres he hit .220/.289/.266. That’s nothing to write home about, but he does walk a decent amount, possesses good speed and was once thought to have good potential. Then in 2015, he had one of his best seasons statistically, posting a .292/.383/.460 with 14 home runs and 18 swipes back in El Paso.
He gives the White Sox another corner outfield option to look at in the spring and since he is still prospect eligible (albeit barely), he might garner some consideration on our preseason top 30 prospects list.
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