RADHAMES LIZ, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 10, 1983
Signed: Int’l free agent, 2003 (Orioles)
How Acquired: Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Liz signed with Baltimore at a little older age than most top Latin American draftees, but he soon established himself as one of the better pitching prospects in the minors. He showed outstanding stuff, with a fastball sitting at 94-97, and a curve and change that both could be above-average pitches at times. (In the majors, his fastball averaged 93-94.) The result was some very high K rates. Once he hit the upper levels, though, Liz had trouble with his command, getting into bad counts and in some years getting hurt by gopher balls. He struggled badly in his one extended trial with the Orioles and, after that, wasn’t as effective in the minors. He eventually went to Korea for three years.
Liz pitched well in his DSL debut, mostly as a starter. At 19-20, he wasn’t all that young for a new signee debuting in the Dominican.
The Orioles returned Liz to the DSL and he dominated in 14 starts.
Liz moved up to the NYPL and dominated again, with a huge K rate and .188 opponents’ average. The Orioles promoted him to low A for ten starts and he had trouble with his control — probably due to higher-level hitters not chasing as much — but he continued to miss a lot of bats. Baseball America rated him the Orioles’ 12th best prospect after the season.
Liz continued to miss bats in high A. He allowed just a .196 opponents’ average, but still had control problems. He didn’t fare nearly as well in ten AA starts, but BA still moved him up to #5 on Baltimore’s prospect list.
Liz had much more success in a return to AA, although the high walk rate persisted. The Orioles called him up in late August and made nine appearances, four starts, for them. He struggled as a result of falling behind hitters too much. After the season, BA rated him the second best prospect in the Orioles’ system and 69th best in baseball.
Liz opened the season in AAA and mostly struggled, but he pitched very well in two late-May starts and the Orioles brought him up in early June. He pitched out of their rotation for the rest of the season except for a four-game demotion in August. He continued to have trouble getting ahead of hitters and also had significant gopher ball problems, allowing 16.
The Orioles sent Liz back to AAA to open the season, but after two games in relief they called him up. He made two dismal relief appearances for Baltimore and then went back to AAA, where he mostly pitched in relief. He struggled in AAA as well, with opponents hitting .315 against him, and in late June the Orioles sent him to AA, where he pitched in the rotation. He largely returned to form in AA, although without the high K rates. He moved back up to AAA for two games at the end of the year. Baltimore put him on waivers after the season and the Padres claimed him.
Liz spent the season with the Padres’ AAA affiliate, mostly as a starter. He pitched a little better than his ERA indicates, but had trouble again with the longball, allowing 20. The Padres released him after the season and he signed to play in Korea.
Liz pitched as a starter in Korea and put up mediocre numbers, especially his walk and K rates.
In his second Korean season, Liz pitched as a starter except for a brief stretch as a closer. His numbers improved, although his control still wasn’t good.
Liz had his best season in Korea, still with a little too high a walk rate, but allowing only 153 hits in 202.1 IP. After the season he signed a minor league deal with Toronto.
Knee problems curtailed Liz’ season. He didn’t appear with the Blue Jays until late May, when he joined their AA affiliate. He made eight starts total in AA and four in AAA, mostly pitching well except for two bad starts near season’s end, one at each level, that inflated his numbers.
Liz pitched in the Dominican Winter League for a team managed by Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor and, by November 2014, was attracting significant attention. His fastball reportedly was hitting 97-98 and he was showing an excellent breaking ball. The Pirates signed him to a major league contract that initially was reported as being a two-year deal worth $3M. The Pirates weren’t satisfied with Liz’ physical, though, and the deal was reworked as a one-year contract for $1M. He opened the season in the major league bullpen. Liz wasn’t terrible with the Pirates, but he didn’t pitch especially well, either. He struck out a lot of hitters, but had trouble throwing strikes and allowed opponents a 286/387/451 batting line. When Charlie Morton returned from the disabled list in late May, the Pirates designated Liz for assignment. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA. The Pirates put him in the AAA rotation and he was outstanding through late August. They called him up on September 1 and he pitched well in his first two games, but after a poor outing in his third game the team designated him for assignment to create roster space for Vance Worley.
Considering how quickly they gave up on him in September, the Pirates seem to have lost their enthusiasm for Liz. In the time they saw him, both then and earlier in the year, he must have convinced them he had issues beyond just a few bad outings. He does appear to be the sort of pitcher who has excellent stuff and good enough command to dominate AAA hitters, but not good enough to pitch successfully to major league hitters. He probably won’t get another chance with the Pirates, as he’ll be a minor league free agent after the season.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2003
MLB Debut: 8/25/2007
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 8/25/2007
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2008, 2009, 2010)
MLB Service Time: 0.133
|February 15, 2003: Signed as an international free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
August 25, 2007: Contract purchased by the Baltimore Orioles
November 25, 2009: Claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres from the Baltimore Orioles.
January 3, 2011: Released by the San Diego Padres.
January 8, 2011: Signed contract with LG (Korea).
March 7, 2014: Signed as a minor league free with the Toronto Blue Jays.
November 4, 2014: Became a free agent.
December 12, 2014: Signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 25, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on June 3.
September 1, 2015: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
September 15, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.