Mountain Ridge left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore has dominated at all levels he has played in, whether it’s Arizona talent or internationally with Team USA.
Now, he has a chance to try his hand against professional players.
The 6-foot-5, left-handed pitcher was selected 16th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB Draft.
The University of Arizona commit has a four-year career with the Mountain Lions where he tabbed a 17-2 record with 239 strikeouts in 162.2 innings with a 1.29 ERA, including two sub-1.00 ERAs in his last two years of his career.
He is the first high school player to be selected in the 2018 MLB Draft and is the highest Arizona prep pick since Mike Jones (Thunderbird) was selected 12th overall in 2001.
Baseball America had this to say when evaluating the southpaw:
The Arizona commit pitches with a bulldog-like mentality on the mound but also brings a cerebral approach to what he’s trying to do, with an advanced understanding of how to attack hitters and how to manipulate his pitches. During the spring, Liberatore added a low-80s slider that he showcased to a large group of evaluators at USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational. The pitch is currently behind his curveball and changeup–both of which project as plus offerings–but showed some promise and he seemed confident with the offering given that he added it to his now-four-pitch mix about a week prior.
Not Just Liberatore
Matthew’s best friend, O’Connor third baseman Nolan Gorman, is also slated to go in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft.