Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 19
An extremely promising prep southpaw with an, “immense ceiling”(FanGraphs).
Height/Weight: 6’5″ / 200
Drafted: | Signed: 1st, 2018 (16th) | $3,497,500
School: High School
Pitch Grades (Via FanGraphs):
FB velocity: 92-95, T-97
The Rays took Matthew Liberatore with the first of their two 1st round picks in the 2018 draft. Widely considered one of the best if not the best prep pitcher in the draft, the southpaw fell to the Rays who pounced on him at #16. FanGraphs ranked him as the 8th best prospect in a loaded Rays system while BA ranked him 5th.
Off-speed: BA is very high on his change of speed pitches, ” Liberatore sits 92-93 mph and touches 95, but it’s his plus curveball and changeup that can overwhelm hitters. His changeup is quite advanced for a high school draftee because it has excellent deception, and he has the conviction to throw it in a variety of counts.” FanGraphs gave his curveball a grade of 70 which is high praise and good enough for best in the system.
Delivery: His delivery is repeatable and clean and he doesn’t over exert himself. He gets nice extension which allows him to ramp his fastballs up to the mid to upper 90’s.
2018 numbers with GCL and Princeton:
32.2 IP // 1.38 ERA // 37K/13BB // 1.04 WHIP
Thoughts: I can’t wait to see how Liberatore progresses this year at Hudson Valley (likely). He has all the tools to be one of the next Rays pitching greats and follow in the footsteps of Price and now Snell. He has a good frame and the best curveball in the system. The future is very bright for the 19-year-old. As FanGraphs said, “But the frame, athleticism, arm strength, and ability to spin are all ideal, and there’s immense ceiling here.”