The first round of the 2018 MLB Draft is this Monday and teams are gearing up for their selection of young players out of high school and college. One of those young players is the highly touted Matthew Liberatore.
2018 MLB Draft Profile: Matthew Liberatore
Ranked as the number four prospect by MLB.com coming into the 2018 MB Draft, the 18-year old senior out of Mounatinridge High School in Glendale Arizona, Matthew Liberatore will certainly be on many team’s radars. Listed at 6’5″ and 200 lbs, Liberator is the highest ranked left-handed pitcher to come in the draft. According to MLB’s latest mock draft, Jonathan Mayo has Liberatore going seventh overall to the San Diego Padres.
And with good reason. As a member of the 18U U.S. National Team, Liberatore threw 12 shutout innings. Liberatore was also the starting pitcher in the gold medal match against South Korea, a game in which the US National team won, largely thanks to Liberatore’s six scoreless innings.
Undoubtedly, many teams will be impressed with Liberatore coming into this draft. The young lefty is coming into this year’s draft class with an impressive resume. Not only is Liberatore the top-ranked left-handed pitcher, he’s also the top-ranked high schooler this year.
Scouting reports say that Liberatore has a fastball that can reach 97-mph and also throws a slow 12-6 curveball with a three-quarters tilt. The lefty has also been working on his slider as a third pitch to pair with his fastball and curveball. Liberatore’s fastball, curveball, and slider have all been given a scouting grade of 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale, with the possibility that they could develop to 60 on the scale.
Though Liberatore is the highest ranked left-handed starter in the draft, he may not measure up well compared to the other pitchers in the draft. Some scouts are also skeptical of Liberatore’s ability to consistently maintain his velocity late in games. FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel viewed one of Liberatore’s starts and said of the outing, “His stuff has backed off to expected levels each start since that debut, and he was very solid in the first inning at NHSI: he sat 93-95 mph on the fastball with a 55 to 60 curveball, a fringe slider (a new pitch he had added in the past week), and a 55 changeup. By the third inning, Liberatore was out of sync, having some trouble with strikes and working 89-91 with a curveball that flashed 55”.
Liberatore has already drawn comparisons to Cole Hamels and Steve Avery. All three are big left-handed starters. Though this may be high praise, some scouts feel that Liberatore’s upside is that of a number two starter in a rotation, but that he will most likely be a number three.
2018 MLB Draft
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