Liriano leads huge comeback for Peoria
San Diego's top prospect doubles twice in 10-run inning in Arizona Fall League
Rymer Liriano's approach Thursday was simple: Wait for a fastball. It just took about eight innings for the rest of his teammates to get on board with the plan.
Liriano hit a pair of doubles in the eighth inning to highlight a mammoth go-ahead 10-run rally on Thursday as Peoria came back to stun Scottsdale, 12-4, in the Arizona Fall League.
"We were ready for fastballs," said the 21-year-old outfielder. "I took that approach, looked for it middle-away, and I was ready for the fastball, it was my pitch."
Liriano, the Padres' No. 1 prospect, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to raise his average to .358 for Peoria. He singled in the first, hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth and added two doubles in the eighth -- including a two-run two-bagger off reliever Jacob Dunnington (Giants).
Pirates prospect Vic Black, a first-round pick in 2009, was the victim of the Javelinas' outburst.
"We were feeling comfortable at the plate, sitting on the fastball, reacting to breaking balls and just looking for a good pitch," Liriano said. "I was able to put a good swing on [the second double]."
The Javelinas trailed entering the eighth, 4-2. Liriano doubled to begin the frame and took third on a wild pitch by Black before fellow Padres prospect Nate Freiman walked and Evan Bigley (Twins) followed with an RBI single. Phillies farmhands Zach Collier and Tommy Joseph drew consecutive walks, with Joseph's bases-loaded free pass tying the game.
Peoria took the lead on an RBI single by Jeudy Valdez and made it 6-4 on another bases-loaded walk to Cody Asche (Phillies), which put an end to Black's afternoon. Dunnington came on and served up Liriano's two-run double to right. Freiman followed with a two-RBI single and Bigley capped the outburst with a two-run triple, his second of the fall.
Liriano said his first double of the inning was on a fastball and the second, a line drive to right, came on a slider. Hitting to right field has been something he's focused on in batting practice, he said.
"I'm really comfortable with hitting the fastball," said the righty-swinging No. 3 hitter who is batting .346 against right-handers this fall.
Liriano has 15 hits, including two homers, and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games for Peoria. Playing alongside other Padres farmhands like Valdez and Cory Spangenberg has been a fun experience.
"It's really great. I'm really happy with [my progress], but I need to learn some of the situations," he said. "I think I'm ready."
Whether the top prospect will break camp with San Diego next spring remains to be seen, although he said earlier in the week that he feels he's "really ready" to play in the Majors.
He reiterated that belief Thursday.
"Ultimately, it's the Padres' decision," he said. "I'll be ready whenever they want, I'll be ready."
Liriano is coming off a solid year in which he hit .280 with eight homers, 61 RBIs and 32 steals in 127 games between Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. Although his power and speed numbers dipped compared to his Midwest League MVP season of 2011, the raw talent he has makes him believe San Diego isn't far away.
"He's a tremendous talent," Dusty Wathan, Liriano's manager on the Peoria Javelinas, told MLB.com earlier this week. "He's got a great arm, he can run ... got some power, looks like he can hit the ball to all fields. So I think the Padres definitely have something special in him. It's nice to have a guy like that have an opportunity to play here and really get to judge him against the best of the best in the Minor Leagues right now."
The Dominican outfielder known for his strong arm owns a .408 on-base percentage this fall and is batting .353 with runners on base.
"Obviously, if he has a good year here in the Fall League, it'll definitely help him continue his progress toward the Major Leagues," Wathan said. "I think you'll be able to judge that a little more toward the end [of the Fall League season]."
Twins prospect Kyle Gibson started for Peoria and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks over five frames. Phillies righty Tyler Knigge earned the win after throwing a scoreless seventh.
Chris Gloor (Giants) was charged with a run on three hits and three walks in four innings in his sixth start for Scottsdale. Giants first-rounder Joe Panik went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Indians prospect Alex Monsalve finished 4-for-4 and knocked home two runs in the loss.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.