3 surprise players who've dominated at Cardinals Spring Training
By Eric Treuden
These 3 players broke out this spring in a big way for the Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have put together one of the best squads in the National League heading into the 2023 season.
Willson Contreras represents the most significant offseason addition for the club and is the perfect replacement for longtime backstop Yadier Molina, who sailed off into the sunset and retired at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.
Looking around the rest of the roster, there weren't many areas of need over the offseason. The team is going to look very similar to the one that took the field every day last year, which is a good thing for the Cards.
Most of the usual suspects are playing as advertised in the early goings of Spring Training this year. However, there are a handful of surprise players who have been quietly impressive so far.
Let's break down three surprise Cardinals players who have been dominant in Spring Training.
No. 3: LHP Matthew Liberatore
Liberatore, 23, made his big league debut last year for the Cards, making nine appearances (seven starts) and going 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA, 5.02 FIP, and 65 ERA+. Nothing to write home about.
Entering the upcoming season, he is listed as the No. 6 prospect in the St. Louis farm system per MLB.com's latest prospect rankings and is going to be at or near the top of the list for injury call-ups as the regular season marches on.
The talent has always been there for Liberatore. He is a fairly durable pitcher who strikes guys out at an above-average clip but has yet to dial down the home runs allowed in his professional career. However, he has looked sharp so far in spring for the club.
In three appearances (two starts) in spring, he is 2-0 with a shiny 1.80 ERA in 10 innings. In that time, he struck out nine batters and walked only one. He has shown that he made the necessary adjustments over the offseason to force his way into the conversation for sixth starter/long reliever down the line for the big league club.