The Cardinals’ Secret Pitching Solution: Matthew Liberatore
Could the Cardinals find their missing piece in an unexpected place?
The Cardinals are in desperate need of pitching reinforcements, and it’s no secret. With the free agent market and trade candidates being discussed extensively, there is one pitcher who has flown under the radar but could be the perfect fit for St. Louis.
When searching for a pitcher, the first step should be looking at an organization known for its exceptional track record in drafting and developing pitchers. The Tampa Bay Rays have earned a reputation as one of the best in recent years, making them an ideal partner for the Cardinals.
The Rays have mastered the art of pitching, and their secret was revealed in a 2021 MLB article. Acquiring anyone from this organization would undoubtedly give the Cardinals an advantage. But what if they could secure one of the Rays’ first-round draft choices?
One player stands out in particular, with MLB.com praising him after he was selected:
“I’m stunned that (Player X) lasted this long because I think you could have argued for him going as early as No. 2 overall. His stuff is so advanced that he’s more like a college pitcher than a high school one. (Player X) already has four solid pitches that could become plus pitches as his 6-foot-5 frame gets stronger. He has a tremendous feel for pitching — and a lot of moxie.”
This player was the 16th pick in the 2018 draft, just two spots after the Cardinals’ rumored top trade target, Logan Gilbert. The Rays’ second pick in the first round, Shane McClanahan, was also selected shortly after. These comparisons highlight the immense talent possessed by this pitcher.
MLB grades this player with a 60 fastball and a 60 curveball, showcasing his impressive arsenal. In the minor leagues with the Rays, he pitched 152 innings and recorded 150 strikeouts. Last year, opposing MLB batters had a .274 batting average against him, comparable to Jack Flaherty’s .278 and Miles Mikolas’ .282.
Unbeknownst to many, this player is already a part of the Cardinals organization. Matthew Liberatore, a cost-controlled pitcher with a first-round pedigree, perfectly fits the mold of what the Cardinals are seeking.
Although he didn’t make the club out of spring training, Liberatore showcased his potential in Memphis, pitching 64 innings and striking out 84 batters. Upon his return to the majors, he maintained a similar innings count (62) but recorded 46 strikeouts. These numbers demonstrate his ability to dominate on the mound.
If the Cardinals truly want to tap into Liberatore’s talent, they should do everything in their power to make a deal for him. With his impressive track record and potential, Liberatore could be the missing piece the Cardinals need to bolster their pitching staff.