Cardinals Acquire Top-Prospect Matt Liberatore

Hayden See, Reporter

The Cardinals have acquired top pitching prospect Matt Liberatore in a trade with the Rays.

St. Louis sent outfielders Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, in addition to a competitive balance Round A pick to Tampa Bay for pitcher Matt Liberatore, catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and a competitive balance Round B pick. The deal brings the Cardinals’ 40-man roster down to 38, and helps them cut down on their abundance of outfielders, while adding a top-50 MLB prospect in Liberatore.

“Liberatore is going to be the next Jack Flaherty,” senior Ethan Seymore said.

Now in the Cardinals’ farm system, he ranks as their third overall prospect, and highest rated pitching prospect. Despite being picked in the middle of the first-round, he has turned into the 41st ranked prospect in baseball. Standing 6’ 5”, scouts tout his strong repertoire, which includes his mid 90’s fastball and hammer curveball.

“You never know with pitchers and their possible injuries, but I have high hopes,” senior Blake Haffer.

In exchange for their top pitching prospect, the Cardinals sent them their top bat off the bench in Jose Martinez, and a well performing prospect that is unable to get the reps in at the MLB level in Randy Arozarena. In four seasons with St. Louis, Martinez has an .821 OPS, which is 19% above league average. Arozarena recorded an OPS over 1.000 in Triple-A Memphis, however with the plethora of outfielders at St. Louis’ disposal, he wasn’t given a chance at the major league level.

“This was a steal by the Cardinals. They picked up a top prospect while getting rid of unneeded depth,” senior Harrison Reibow said.