Francisco Liriano - I don't think there is a pitcher in all of baseball with the upside of Liriano. He had an electric fastball and an unhittable slider before the surgery. Now his changeup is vastly improved. His control was never good but last year set new lows. But that's ok, with TJ surgery that was expected. It sounds like his stuff has recovered but not to the point it was before injury. That's ok with his improved change.
He was bad last year but that was more about making too many mistakes. This year those mistakes should be less and with more velocity - so they will be punished less. Expect anywhere from a 4.25 ERA to an 3.25 ERA.
Jeremy Bonderman - He had surgery 2 offseasons ago for thoracic outlet syndrome. A fancy way of saying his rib was impeding a nerve causing loss of feeling in his pitching hand. He was having a breakout year and then halfway through the season couldn't have any feel. His slider suffered and then his movement on his fastball went down.
He had surgery and came back last season. But an offseason without any throwing put him way behind everyone else. Muscles do atrophy. I think we forget how fine tuned pitchers bodies become. Anyways, he struggled all season to recover his velocity but never really recovered his stuff.
From reports it sounds like he has the movement back on his fastball. If he has this and his slider he can become a dominant pitcher once again. I am still worried as he is a bit behind other pitchers. This doesn't match with the rest of the info we are reading, why is he behind?
Dustin McGowan - will he ever recover to the potential he has?
He had rotator cuff problems at the end of his first successful season. But JP kept this quiet and had Dustin pitch the next year. And he hurt the shoulder further with capsule damage I believe. I think the labrum damage was minor. We shall see. ps:I hate JP.
Last season Dustin was rehabbing and injured his knee and had to shut down for the year. That's probably a good thing. At least now he might be protected.
I really have no idea what kind of stuff he will have. Before the injuries his stuff was as good as just about anyone. The only concern I had was his stiff landing which really messed up his location at times. Hello Billingsley.
Bedard - for this season I wouldn't be counting on him. It looks like there is a good chance he misses 2-3 months
Bedard is certainly intriguing because of his stuff for a lefty, high k's, and stretches of utter dominance. I'm not high on him because of too many injury concerns combined with stretches where he looks just average. Nothing wrong with that but in any league someone will always be paying for that ace potential
Any thoughts or other candidates? More to come...