#5 - Matthew Liberatore
Ranking on Cardinals' top prospect lists:
He has graduated from all prospect lists now but was generally ranked between #4-#12 in different rankings
This is not at all a shot against Matthew Liberatore, I just think there are guys who have higher ceilings than him as a starter. But Liberatore does present the Cardinals with a left-handed starter who fits more as a back-end-of-the-rotation guy but still brings strikeout stuff.
After a disastrous 2022 season, Liberatore tumbled out of the Top 100 prospect rankings and down most Cardinals prospect lists. His lack of velocity on his fastball and inability to locate it got him in tons of trouble both in St. Louis and in Memphis.
2023 was a different story while he was in Memphis. Liberatore went 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 46 innings of work, earning a promotion to St. Louis and eventually replacing Steven Matz in the rotation.
It hasn't been talked about much, but his run in the rotation hasn't been pretty so far, posting a 5.14 ERA in his first 21 innings of work. I'm not down on him, but he does need to right the ship.
Liberatore earned a spot in the St. Louis rotation due to major improvements to his fastball, general command, and a return to having good strikeout stuff. Like McGreevy, Libeartore can help stabilize the Cardinals' rotation with a quality arm long-term, but should not be expected to lead the staff.