|Report Date:||March 7th, 2018|
Liberatore struggled early in this outing with poor fastball command and little feel for his secondaries, a result of an unsynced delivery that had him opening early and losing his release point. After two rocky innings, he found his mechanics and carved, locating his fastball better to the armside to set up a 12-to-6 hammer curveball thrown both for strikes and as a chase offering. His change-up was firm and ineffective early, but flashed plus later on.
Liberatore’s fastball sat 91-to-93 mph, touching 95 mph, with moderate run and some sink down in the zone. His poor control early on resulted in sailed fastballs to the arm side, but he smoothed out his delivery, remaining tall and on top of the pitch, eventually hitting his spots on the outer third of the plate. His 72-to-75 mph curveball is filthy when it’s on—a 12-to-6 hook with sharp, late, downward action. He struggled with consistency, however, coming around the pitch and backing several up. When he found it, he put the curveball in and out of the zone and even showed comfort backdooring the breaker on the black. While firm early, Liberatore impressed with his change-up late, throwing his two best with above-average fade, fastball arm speed, and 10 mph of fastball separation.
Despite an up-and-down day, Liberatore projects to have three plus pitches, founded on already impressive control and command. With physical development—he’ll surely add strength—to go along with an athletic frame and delivery, anticipate an uptick stuff and eventual plus command. When he struggled, Liberatore kept composed, battled, and adjusted to better control at-bats. While there is risk in the delivery inconsistency, a pro development staff should be able to help him improve his repeatability. He looks the part of a future #2 or #3 starting pitcher.