St. Louis Cardinals: Three prospects who could become trade bait

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Matthew Liberatore

The left-handed Matthew Liberatore was once considered the highest pitching prospect in the Cardinal minor league system. Although by most prospect ratings, he is still a top-ten prospect for the Cardinals, he is no longer the highest-rated pitcher in their system.

It now seems pitchers Gordon Graceffo, Tink Hence, Cooper Hjerpe, and in some cases, Michael McGreevy has all passed Liberatore in the prospect ratings. However, it must be pointed out, none of these prospects have reached AAA. The 23-year-old Liberatore has pitched in 44 games in AAA, and 9 games with the Cardinals.

The concern about Liberatore, is he has yet to impress at either St. Louis or AAA Memphis. He carries a 4.58 ERA at Memphis and a 5.97 ERA with the Cardinals.

To be fair, some consideration should be given that Liberatore missed a full year in 2020 due to the minor league season being cancelled because of COVID. Additionally, he jumped from A to AAA when returning in 2021.

With that being said, Liberatore is now being projected at best as a 4th starter. Although his curve ball has impressed many scouts, his fastball doesn't get many outs. Part of it is command, some of it is movement. Improvement with his fastball, could make Liberatore a decent back of the rotation type of pitcher.

Going into the 2022 season, the Cardinals have a rotation which includes Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson, and Jordan Montgomery. Liberatore seems to be on the outside looking in.

Still, Matthew Liberatore could be an important and attractive part of a trade package.