Liberatore was reassigned to minor-league camp Thursday.
Liberatore was with the big-league club this spring to gain experience and build up his workload. He threw a total of six innings and tallied a 5:6 K:BB. Liberatore is likely to begin the season at Double-A Springfield.
Liberatore is highly unlikely to start the season at the major-league level despite an impressive spring, even considering the Cardinals' multiple starting pitcher injuries, Zachary Silver of MLB.com reports. "Don't think they're [Liberatore and Ryan Thompson] candidates to start," Shildt admitted pregame, "but just in the process of building those guys up to start the season."
A leap from the Low-A level, where Liberatore toiled in 2019 while still with the Rays organization, to the majors would be quite the feat, especially after a missed year of in-game development in 2020. However, Liberatore is certainly planting the seed for a potentially rapid ascension through the ranks with his early spring efforts, which include a 27-pitch, two-inning perfect effort Saturday versus the Marlins. The 21-year-old southpaw has a 2.08 ERA across 4.2 Grapefruit League innings (three appearances), a caliber of performance that should earn him a ticket to Double-A Springfield, at minimum, to open the campaign.
Liberatore fired a scoreless fifth inning in Tuesday's Grapefruit League tie with the Marlins, allowing no hits or runs, issuing two walks and a balk, and recording a strikeout.
Liberatore packed quite a bit into his one-inning Grapefruit League debut, but he fortunately worked out of his self-imposed two-out trouble by inducing an inning-ending flyball from Magneuris Sierra with the bases loaded. Zachary Silver of MLB.com reports the promising left-hander is expected to begin the year at Double-A Springfield, and he's likely to continue working out with Marlins prospects in Florida ahead of the expected early-May start of the minor-league season once the big-league club breaks camp.
Liberatore enjoyed a strong summer at the team's alternate training site in Springfield and could be a contender for a spot in the 2021 rotation or bullpen, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
The southpaw came over in a trade with the Rays last winter with a high pedigree, as he was a first-round pick in the 2018 first-year player draft. Liberatore posted 6-2 record and 3.10 ERA at Low-A Bowling Green in 2019, and despite his lack of experience in the upper minors, he's apparently positioned himself for a big leap in competition in 2021. The 20-year-old figures to get a long look in spring training, and he appears to have a good chance of logging his first big-league action at some point in 2021 even if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster.
Liberatore was added to the Cardinals' 60-player roster pool Wednesday and was assigned to the alternate training site in Springfield, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
The young southpaw is one of the organization's top prospects, so it's not surprise to see it prioritizing his development in the 60-man pool. Liberatore spent 2019 at Low-A Bowling Green and delivered a 3.10 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 76:31 K:BB across 78.1 innings.
Liberatore is considered a potential future ace by multiple scouts in the Cardinals organization, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The 20-year-old southpaw already impressed at two different stops in the minors with the Rays organization, and Goold says the Cardinals' consensus seems to be Liberatore is a front-of-the-rotation talent. Liberatore has already been labeled as the safest prep pitching prospect in recent years by Baseball America, with his four-pitch arsenal, command and delivery affording him considerable upside. Like many around baseball, Liberatore, who was likely ticketed for Double-A Springfield this year, will see his overall development temporarily hampered by the likely lack of a 2020 minor-league season; however, the 2018 first-round pick would presumably be a part of any baseball activities the Cardinals may organize for their minor leaguers.
Liberatore isn't expected to see any major-league action in 2020 despite the expectation of expanded rosters, Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports.
The 20-year-old, who was part of the January trade with the Rays that sent Randy Arozarena and Jose Martinez to Tampa, struggled in his two Grapefruit League appearances (27.00 ERA across 1.2 innings) after receiving a spring training invite upon arrival in the organization. The outlook for Liberatore, a 2018 first-round pick, is considered bright after a solid first two professional seasons, but Saxon notes the left-hander still needs plenty of seasoning before he can be asked to face big-league bats on a regular basis.
Liberatore will join the Cardinals' big-league camp this spring.
Liberatore came over from the Rays in early January in a trade which sent Randy Arozarena and Jose Martinez the other way. The young lefty has a promising future but isn't close to the big leagues, as he's yet to even reach High-A.
Liberatore was traded to the Cardinals from the Rays on Thursday in exchange for unnamed major-league players, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports.
The 20-year-old dealt with a back injury that kept him sidelined for just under two weeks in 2019, but he managed to record a 3.10 ERA with a 76:31 K:BB over 78.1 innings with Low-A Bowling Green. While he's likely still several years from his major-league debut, he is a 6-foot-5 lefty with at least mid-rotation upside.
Liberatore (back) was activated from the 7-day injured list ahead of Wednesday's start against Low-A Lake County, Emily Waldon of The Athletic reports. He allowed one run on a hit and a walk while striking out two over three innings.
Liberatore was placed on the injured list Aug. 10 due to back spasms, though fortunately, he wasn't sidelined for long. He owns a 3.15 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with a 71:30 K:BB over 74.1 innings this season for Low-A Bowling Green.
Liberatore (back) tossed a bullpen session Monday and said he felt good afterwards, Emily Waldon of The Athletic reports.
The 19-year-old was placed on the 7-day injured list at Low-A Bowling Green on Aug. 9 after developing back spasms. His ability to resume throwing without any reported discomfort leaves the door open for Liberatore to return to game action before the minor-league season ends.
Liberatore was placed on the injured list at Low-A Bowling Green on Friday with minor back tightness, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
With this issue described as minor, there's hope that Liberatore will be able to return at some point during the final three weeks of Bowling Green's season. The 16th overall pick in 2018, Liberatore has put together a strong campaign in his first full-season stop, posting a 3.15 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 69:29 K:BB in 71.1 innings so far. He's arguably a top-five prospect in a stacked Rays farm system.
Liberatore, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 first-year player draft, is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and .187 BAA across 21 innings over his first four starts with Low-A Bowling Green.
The 19-year-old southpaw appears to be progressing nicely in his first full professional season. Liberatore gave a similarly impressive accounting of himself during the latter portion of the 2018 season after signing with the Rays in mid-June, logging a combined nine starts at two rookie-level stops and generating a 1.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and .189 BAA across 32.2 frames. His 2019 campaign got off to a late start after he was held back in extended spring, but Liberatore could still potentially hit a triple-digit innings load this season.
Liberatore is expected to be held back in extended spring training to start the year but still expects to throw around 115 innings in his first full season, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports.
Teams often hold young pitchers back in extended spring training early in the season rather than sending them out to pitch in the Midwest before the weather heats up. Liberatore should join Low-A Bowling Green in May or June, which will give him plenty of time to hit his innings goal. Given his advanced arsenal and command, he could move quicker than the typical prep arm.
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2019||AFX-Bowling Green Hot Ro||78.1||16||15||1||6||2||0||76||31||70||3.11||1.293|