Evaluating the rumored St. Louis Cardinals-Nolan Arenado trade package
By Kevin Larson
Liberatore is a left-handed pitcher who is 20 years old and most recently completed the season in Single-A ball for the Tampa Bay Rays. He was acquired by the Cardinals last week and speculation of him being repackaged as part of an Arenado deal immediately began. The former first rounder posted an ERA of 3.10 and an FIP of 3.18 in Single-A with the Rays’ Bowling Green Hot Rods.
His fastball can reach up to 95 mph and “plays above its velocity because it’s deceptive,” per his MLB Scouting Report from Statcast. He’s currently the Cardinals’ #3 prospect and ranks #41 overall. His future value rates out at a 55 in that same scouting report.
His pitch mix also includes an effective slider and a diving changeup, which figure to eventually rate around 50 and 55 respectively. That three pitch mix is certainly one that can play well at Coors Field, especially coming from a lefty who can hit 95. We obviously wouldn’t see him in the Majors for at least a couple seasons. However, if developed properly, he could bring the Rockies a good bit of value in their rotation.
If given the proper time in the minors and no injury issues pop up, Liberatore would make for a fine addition to the Rockies’ rotation some day. His future value suggests that his ceiling isn’t tremendously high but that he would still be a good boost to the rotation. If his three-pitch mix didn’t work as a starter, he could provide value in the bullpen.