|Report Date:||April 2nd, 2018|
Liberatore entered the National High School Invitational as perhaps the most highly regarded prospect at the event. Though he allowed just two runs on one hit and one walk, while striking out 10 against Walton (Ga.), Liberatore wasn’t as sharp as the stats would suggest.
Liberatore touched 95 mph early in the start, sitting at 91-to-93 mph throughout the first two innings, before pitching in the 88-to-90 mph range thereafter. Throughout the summer, Liberatore found success mixing up his tempo, occasionally shortening his already abbreviated windup to quick-pitch his opponent. During this outing, this move led to mechanical inconsistencies, causing his arm to drag well behind his body, and his command suffered as a result. When it’s on, Liberatore’s hammer curveball is one of the best in the class, a plus pitch with depth and 12-to-6 movement, though he didn’t consistently stay on top of it during this viewing. He struggled with feel for his changeup, a pitch that flashed above-average, with arm-side fade in previous outings. In what appears to be a recent development, Liberatore has started incorporating a slider into his repertoire, a low-80’s offering with average bite.
Liberatore’s dip in velocity during the game appears to be attributed to a need to slow down mechanically more than anything else. He later found his groove, striking out six consecutive hitters, and working back up into the low 90’s in the seventh inning. Despite the up and down performance, Liberatore’s projectable frame, pitchabiltiy, and three potential above-average or better pitches still make him a top half of the first round talent.