After disappointing in 2022, Matthew Liberatore is worth of a rotation spot for the Cardinals right now
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation has been off to a dreadful start to the season.
The rotation currently ranks 28th in baseball with a 7.14 ERA and is 24th in innings pitched. The most shocking stat may be the batting average against this starting staff, as the Cardinals rank 30th with a .341 batting average allowed, .026 higher than the 29th-ranked Nationals.
I'll address this at some point in the near future, but I'm not freaking out about the rotation like many are. Do I think it's a problem? Yes, that's not a hot take. But I do think it will rebound sooner rather than later and will be good enough for this team to win a lot of games this year. When it comes to October baseball though, they need major upgrades.
One arm that could upgrade this rotation in a big way is actually dominating Triple-A Memphis at the moment - Matthew Liberatore. The 23-year-old left-handed starter received a lot of flack the last calendar year, as he had a rocky year in Triple-A and posted a 5.97 ERA in nine games for St. Louis last year.
Liberatore seemed to have put in major work this offseason. His fastball sat around 93.7 MPH last season, but he's been flashing higher velocity and maintaining it later into starts this season. He is generating swings and misses in a very real well, with his most recent start continuing his excellent trend.
In two starts in Triple-A this season, Liberatore is 2-0 and has yet to give up a run with 14 strikeouts over 10 innings of work. This is coming off a spring where Liberatore had a 1.80 ERA and 9 strikeouts in 10 innings of work.
Liberatore appears to have unlocked something in his game and is ready to face major league competition once again. While Jake Woodford is not as bad as his performance against the Braves showed, I think his arm would be better utilized in the bullpen and allowing Liberatore to make noise in the Cardinals' rotation.
The only thing I think could delay Liberatore's call-up is the status of Adam Wainwright. If Wainwright is returning soon, the Cardinals' could be hesitant on Liberatore with five slots filled. But if there's still a good amount of time until Wainwright is back, then I think it's worth bringing Liberatore into the rotation and figuring out who stays in the rotation later.