Alex Liddi is widely known as the first ever Italian born player to play in the major leagues. But, what he is doing on the field is starting to make him much more than just a hero in his home town. The main reason Liddi is on the 25 man roster right now is because of the injury to Franklin Gutierrez in spring training. What will happen to Liddi when Gutierrez comes back from the disabled list is still yet to be determined. But, for the time being this has opened up a huge opportunity for a guy who seemed to be destined for the minors coming out of spring training.
Liddi has absolutely nothing left to prove in the minors, last year in Tacoma he hit .259/.332/.488 while getting 559 at bats. These numbers do not exactly jump off the board at you right? But how does 30 homeruns and 104 RBI’s sounds, top that off with a record breaking 121 runs scored and you have yourself a very capable middle of the order bat. These are the kind of numbers that have almost became foreign to Seattle fans after our issues with scoring runs over the last couple of years. Now I am not suggesting that if given 500 at bats in the majors Liddi is going to put up numbers anywhere near what he did last year in Tacoma. That is simply not realistic for a 24 year old getting his first year of the majors under his belt. But at the very least he could provide the lineup some much need pop that is desperately lacking right now.
Of course, Liddi is not without some major flaws that have many people concerned that he will never develop into an everyday third baseman. There is one negative attribute about Liddi that has hampered him from being a top prospect. His tendency to strike out at such a high rate is something that has always been an issue with him. Throughout his career he has been known for having a very long swing with a big stride which has made it impossible for him to make consistent contact. Liddi is a very powerful guy and when he puts the sweet spot of the bat to the ball it goes a long long way. But the number of strikeouts he has been recording the last couple of years have turned him into a prospect that is looked at now as just a utility guy who strikes out to much to be in the lineup everyday.
It looks like Liddi has done a ton of work in the off season to fix these problems; so far this year it is obvious that he has shortened his stride considerably, because of this he has been able to adjust to breaking balls even when he gets fooled on the pitch which is resulting in less swings and misses. While this year he has still struck out at a high rate, he has flashed some of the improvements he has made and its only a matter of time before they start showing up in the stats. Liddi has also showed the ability to be patient and wait for a pitch that he knows he can handle with confidence, so much of hitting is being selective and waiting for your pitch and this is something that it looks like he is learning. Liddi’s whole approach looks different at the plate this year, if he continues to show improvement in these key areas then look for great things to come for him in the future.
Alex Liddi is a baseball player who has been an above average to really good hitter his whole career. This Seattle Mariners roster is lacking guys who put major fear into the eyes of the opposing pitcher. Alex has hit the ball well all throughout spring training and has continued to crush the ball with the limited opportunities he has been given so far this year.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say Liddi needs to be in the lineup with more regularity. If Wedge stays consistent with his willingness to ride the hot bat until it cools off then it should not be a surprise to see Liddi getting a lot more opportunities to prove that he can be an impact bat in the everyday lineup. I am very excited to see what Liddi can do with this chance to be in the big leagues, this is not a something a lot of players get in their careers and he needs to take advantage of every at bat.