Will Adam Liberatore Make a Solid Addition To The Dodger Bullpen?
By Scott Andes
So where does Adam Liberatore fit into the Dodger’s plans? The Dodger’s new brain trust acquired the 27-year old left hander earlier this month from the Tampa Bay Rays along with Joel Peralta in exchange for right handed flame thrower Jose Dominguez, and minor league hurler Greg Harris.
The 27-year old left hander was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 16 round of the 2010 amateur draft. Originally Liberatore was a left handed hitting outfielder in high school before converting to the mound. Since 2010 Liberatore has ascended up through Tampa Bay’s minor league system. He’s been pitching for the triple-A Durham Bulls of the International League since 2012.
He’s put up solid numbers in the minors while pitching in relief. During the 2013 season he posted a 10.3 strikeout per nine rate while whiffing 69 in 60.1 innings pitched. In 2014 his whiff rate increased to 11.3 in 65 frames.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
2014 was a great season for Liberatore. The left hander posted a 1.66 ERA with 86 whiffs and just 15 walks in 54 games pitched. Advanced metrics agreed that his season was great, as he posted a 1.65 FIP in 2014.
He left 75% of runners on base, his walk rate was just 6.1% and he rarely gives up home runs. Against left handed hitters he was dominant. He held lefties to a .176 batting average against, and a .476 OPS against during the 2014 season.
Liberatore has posted a 2.69 ERA in 202 career minor league games, with an 8.7 whiff per nine rate. He’s given up just ten home runs as a professional, and posted a 3.1 walk per nine rate. In 2014 Liberatore allowed just 6.0 hits per nine, and posted a 0.8 WHIP.
There are signs pointing to the possibility of Liberatore being a solid addition to the Dodger bullpen in 2015. But there are a couple off concerns. Liberatore did have Tommy John surgery in 2009, and has had problems with his fastball command.
According to the scouting reports, Liberatore primarily has two pitches. Although the two pitches are supposed to be solid. He has a fastball and a slider, and uses different arm slots to deceive hitters. His slider is said to be his best pitch getting late break and swing and miss movement. He tends to throw the slider to lefties more than right handers. He is also developing a changeup as well. With a developed changeup and his solid fastball and sliders, Liberatore could be a great loogy option in the late innings.
The Dodgers had to give up Jose Dominguez to get Liberatore, but it seems to me like a decent trade that could work out for both clubs. A huge goal for the Dodgers this hot stove has to be improving the bullpen. This trade could do it as an under the radar type transaction.
Adam Liberatore could very well provide the Dodgers some valuable innings out of the bullpen next season. I am actually eager to see what Liberatore brings to the dance during spring training of next year. Something tells me that he’ll get a good chance to make the club.
Do you think Liberatore could fit into the Dodger’s bullpen?