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Prospect Instinct 2012 | Rymer Liriano, OF San Diego Padres

 Rymer Liriano, OF San Diego Padres

 06/20/1991
Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 230
The San Diego Padres signed then 16-year-old Rymer Liriano at the beginning of the International signing period in 2007 out of the Dominican Republic. As a 17-year-old in 2008, Liriano struggled to post a .198/.296/.379 line in the Dominican League. After making the jump to the states in 2009, he would go on to destroy the Arizona League with a .350/.398/.523 line in 197 at bats over 50 games. In 2010, Liriano would show some regression, as he spent time between the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest league, the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, and the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League. He compiled a .231/.288/.342 line over 441 at bats in 117 games.
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In 2011, the Padres remained positive with their young outfielder despite a poor start in the Cal League.  They returned him to the Midwest League and he tore it up. We discussed him back in June in our Touch’em All Midwest League article as he was in the midst of his terror on pitchers:
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Rymer Liriano OF Padres (20) - After a slow start in the Cal League for Liriano the Padres decided to send him back to the MWL again for a second go of it. Liriano has been pushed aggressively for his age and sometimes the moves haven’t had much rhyme nor reason. But it seems that things may have finally clicked for the talented OF. Since coming back to Fort Wayne, Liriano has 17 XBH, 30 SB and a .306 average in just 180 AB. I think the Padres will take their time here and build his confidence.
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He would continue to clobber the Midwest League.  He gained our attention and a spot on our San Diego Padres 2012 Top 10 Prospects list:
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7. Rymer Liriano, OF 6/20/1991 H: 6’0″ W: 211 - The Padres recently purchased the contract of OF Rymer Liriano from High-A Lake Elsinore. The move was a no-brainer as it protects Liriano, who was recently hyped as the organization’s top prospect by new general manager Josh Byrnes from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Liriano, a 20-year-old outfielder, batted .298/.365/.465 with 12 home runs, 68 RBI, 66 stolen bases and an .830 OPS over 580 plate appearances this season between Class A Fort Wayne and High-A Lake Elsinore and was the Midwest League’s MVP.
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Our Instinct:  He is what I wish we would see in Blue Jays’ OF prospect Anthony Gose. A kid that’s learning how to read pitches, cutting down on chasing breaking stuff, and increasing his walk totals. GM Josh Barnes is extremely excited about what he has in Liriano, and while we don’t share his sentiments at the moment about him being the best prospect in the Padres organization, he damn well could turn out to be if he keeps on this path set in 2012. I agree with S2S Nate Stoltz on a point that he made about Rymer Liriano, it will be a boost to his rankings if he handles his next promotion better than his previous ones. Watch-him-closely.

Lets take a look at Liriano’s approach at the plate and in the field that made him our #89° prospect on our Baseball Instinct 360° top prospect list for 2012.
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The Bat
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Rymer Liriano currently has plus plus speed as evidenced by his 66 SB in 2011. He’s actually not all burner and knows how to steal bases with a game plan and reading pitchers and counts. His speed is abnormal for a player with such a stocky frame, currently at 230 lbs. With his age there is concern that he may continue to add weight and lose a step or two. But even if that happens, he should be a 30 SB type early on his career and into his prime years.
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But let’s take a look at the swing and talk a bit about the contact and power potential:
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Youtube user – Farmsystem Video
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Liriano had 50 XBH in 2011 with a .175 IsoP. He loaded up on doubles with 30 and showed some power with 11 HR. The 8 triples show his previously highlighted speed, but most impressive in his season was the jump in walk rate to 9.1% and dropping his K rate to 18.4%, a significant drop from the mid 20s he posted in 2010.
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His bat speed is evident and is currently allowing him to catch up to pitchers who are trying to overpower hitters with heat. But the swing gets a little long and could pose some issues unless he tightens up against inside fastballs. Eventually it could leave him susceptible to a bigger zone if he needs to overcompensate with his timing for inside velocity, which will leave him open to breaking balls away. His high end bat speed led to a high LD% at 19% driving an unsustainable .382 BABIP.
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He isn’t showing the Home Run power one would expect from a 230 lbs player, but he’s still young and growing into his man-strength. When all is said and done he should have 20+ HR power and when matched with his speed that makes for a nice combo.
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The Glove
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Rymer Liriano has the speed of a CF but doesn’t project as capable of manning that much real estate in the future. His arm is above average but not approaching plus. The arm should be more than enough to handle Right Field though as long as his power dictates the position.
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Our Instinct
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Rymer Liriano’s high .382 BABIP in 2011 is going to be a key number to focus on during his 2012 campaign. It’s a level that is rarely sustainable and he should see a reversion to the mean which would drive his AVG down and below the .300 mark. In his favor, he should, by all means, be in the Cal League in 2012, which is known as a hitters haven, so his power numbers should spike.
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His jump in walk rate and his drop in K rate are numbers that have no context to his level. They were real adjustments made by the player and if he can sustain those in 2012 it should bode well for another excellent season.
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Liriano has the best tools in the Padres system, even surpassing Donovan Tate. The Padres Brass are high on him and should treat his development with kid gloves until they are ready to put another winning product on the field. In an organization hungry for a right-handed bat to drive offensive production, Liriano could be an answer. It will be tough for him to hit .300 long term, but with his speed and future power he could be a .280/20HR/30+SB player.
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Stick with Baseball Instinct and we’ll keep you a step ahead of the game. Check back soon for more Prospect coverage. While you’re here, check out our Baseball Instinct 360° – it’s our top 360 prospects for 2012. Also check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be, so don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at mailbag@baseballinstinct.com.


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