Cardinals: Checking in on Matthew Liberatore after 4 Triple-A starts
Checking in on Cardinals top prospect Matthew Liberatore after 4 Triple-A starts: early struggles, but dominance in his fourth outing.
The St. Louis Cardinals are expected to call up star pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore at some point this year. When that time will come remains unknown, though it is widely expected to come in the second half of the regular season.
But Liberatore struggled in his first three Triple-A starts in 2022, posting a 6.28 ERA and 18/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14.1 innings. His underlying numbers painted a different picture, however, with his 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings being higher than his career average of 9.1 and his 1.9 walks per nine innings lower than his 2.9 career average.
Where Liberatore has been getting into trouble is with the long ball, as he surrendered 2.5 homers(!) per nine innings. He also allowed 10.7 hits per nine innings, up from a career average of 8.3. It’s a small sample size, but surely something that the Cardinals are monitoring closely.
It’s not all bad, though, as Liberatore was dominant in his fourth start in Triple A, throwing seven shutout innings while allowing only two hits with nine strikeouts and zero walks. Six of those strikeouts were looking with Jack Keffer, the Cardinals’ minor-league broadcaster, saying: “Masterful day for Liberatore, his best start of the year.”
The Cardinals hope it is a sign of things to come for Liberatore, who will likely contribute out of the bullpen when he is eventually called up. But that provides a glimpse at what the team believes he is capable of in the future and if that is indeed the case, the left-hander is set to become a prominent part of the top part of the rotation in 2023 and beyond.
We’ll continue to monitor Liberatore’s progress throughout the season. But Saturday night’s start was exactly what both the team and player were hoping to see after a slow start to 2022.