How much can be said for a guy who threw all of 3 innings for the Dodgers in 2017? A tad more than you’d normally think. Adam Liberatore has a special arm when he is able to use it.
Adam Liberatore tallied 3.1 innings for the Dodgers in 2017. He accumulated five strikeouts, two walks, and…You know what, who cares,? His 2017 didn’t really amount to much. Liberatore himself would be the first to tell you that. He missed basically the entire year because of injuries, particularly to his forearm. His grade? INC. But the impact that he had for the Dodgers in the first half of 2016 still hasn’t been forgotten.
One day during the 2016 season, Adam Liberatore struck out two batters, and Coach Roberts came out to make a pitching change. Liberatore was then approached by catcher Yasmani Grandal who told him “congratulations.”
"I didn’t know what he meant, and it seemed like a really weird thing to say in that situation,” said Liberatore. “I’m getting pulled and the guy says, ‘Congratulations.’"
Unknowingly to him, Adam had just achieved all-time Dodger greatness. Last year Liberatore set a Dodger record with 28 consecutive scoreless appearances and compiled an era of 0.61 in 29.1 innings. The Dodgers at the time needed just about every one of those scoreless appearances as they struggled to stay afloat. Just Turner was struggling after offseason surgery, Gonzalez was showing signs of decline, and an injury rampage was underway. This way a time before Bellinger, where the Dodgers needed every last drop of production squeezed from their entire roster.
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But Adam Liberatore’s sudden and surprising dominance earned him brief comparisons to Andrew Miller, and he even came close to sniffing out a spot on the All-Star team. It appeared that Andrew Friedman had recovered another hidden gem, this time from his previous post in Tampa Bay.
Then the second half hit and the good times stopped for Liberatore. He succumbed to injury and road struggles to compile an unsightly 5.12 ERA and a whopping WHIP of 1.6. Just when Adam Liberatore thought he had put those injuries behind him, they returned and robbed him of almost all of 2017. A groin injury was soon followed by a forearm strain which at first glance seemed minor. In June, a group of team doctors stated there were no structural issues with his elbow and deemed it inflammation.
"There was no nerve damage, no ligament damage,” Roberts said. “He’s in a good place. Just a couple weeks off, and it’ll be fine."
Not exactly so. His forearm issues persisted, and Liberatore’s season was over before it really began. Because of these health issues, Adam Liberatore should not be counted on to handle the duties of the Dodger’s primary left-handed reliever. In the coming madness that are the winter meetings, I’m sure names like Zach Britton among others will be on the Dodger’s radar and rightfully so.
However, if Liberatore can find a way to stay healthy, he can arguably become another secret weapon out of LA’s pen. When you break an all-time Dodger record, you know you have something special in that arm. The only question is whether or not he can keep using it on a regular basis.