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2018 MLB Draft Profile: Matthew Liberatore

Going for a high-schooler in the first round seems unlikely, but Matthew Liberatore just might tempt the White Sox

Who is Matthew Liberatore?

Liberatore is a six-foot-five southpaw from Mountain Ridge H.S. in Arizona. Wait, a high school pitcher? Yes — he has the potential to be that good.

How does Liberatore rank?

MLB Pipeline Top 100: 4th

Perfect Game: 2nd

Fangraphs Draft 2.0: 12th

Sporting News: 2nd

What is Liberatore’s game?

Here’s his scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

There’s nothing that Liberatore is special at. His fastball sits in the low 90s. He has a plus curve and slider. His changeup is likely a plus pitch, but unfortunately is at the right speed for high schoolers to hit it.

Overall, the consensus is that despite the lack of the big fastball, Liberatore is likely to go in the Top 10 and could even be a Top 5 pick. This is primarily due to his extremely high floor. The various scouting reports on Liberatore talk about his excellent control, making mechanical adjustments to improve his pitches, and his feel for pitching. This is pretty odd for an 18-year-old. This mature approach and apparent coachability also means he could be able to move through a minor league system quickly.

What does Matthew Liberatore look like?

Why would the White Sox draft him?

The White Sox obviously have a lot of experience in drafting and developing pitchers. They’ll take Liberatore if they think they can develop him quickly and get him through the system. His high floor, for a high school pitcher, makes him a relatively low risk. He is considered by many to be the top lefty in the draft.

Why wouldn’t the White Sox draft him?

A high school pitcher isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and with excellent college bats available at the top of the draft, there might be players available that can help the Sox in their window, starting in 2020. As a high school pitcher, Liberatore might not be ready for another five years.