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Pirates claim Jesus Liranzo on waivers

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Media Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As per an official announcement from the team, the Pirates have claimed right-handed relief pitcher Jesus Liranzo on waivers and optioned him to Altoona.

Liranzo, who turned 23 last month, is a Dominican hurler listed at 6’2’’ and 175 lbs. He originally signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2012, but struggled in limited playing time in the Dominican Summer League in 2012 and 2013, and was released. The Baltimore Orioles must have seen something they liked, though, as they added him to their own DSL squad and held onto him even after he fractured his elbow and missed the entire 2014 season. He rewarded that patience and earned a spot on their 40-man roster following the 2016 season, but was designated for assignment in a roster crunch this spring and traded in a minor deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who just attempted to sneak him through waivers.

Liranzo has solid velocity, with a mid-90s fastball that he supplements with a slider and an occasional splitter. He has generated high strikeout rates (10.7 K/9) and low hit rates (6.3 H/9) throughout the minors, but a high walk rate (5.5 BB/9) has limited his success. He was used in three-inning starts for a portion of last year for developmental reasons, but he projects as a middle reliever or setup man, and will need some additional work to achieve that level of success. The option the Pirates just used was his second, so he will still have one remaining for 2019 if he remains on the roster.

There is some footage of Liranzo here, if you’re interested in seeing what he has to offer.