Matthew Liberatore had been the prized possession of the Arizona Wildcats’ 2018 baseball recruiting class since the day he pledged to Jay Johnson’s staff, but the lefty from Glendale, AZ will not see campus.
Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Rays and Liberatore came to terms on a deal with a $3.5 million signing bonus. It is just under the slot value of $3,603,500.
Matthew Liberatore, the No. 16 overall pick, will sign with the rays. Expected to get $3.5M. Terrific HS lefty from AZ.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 9, 2018
Liberatore was a high school teammate with current Arizona infielder Cameron Cannon at Mountain Ridge where the left-handed pitcher was named Arizona’s Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year for 2017-18.
This was also probably the most high-profile pitcher committed to Arizona since Michael Kopech, who did what Liberatore and went straight to Minor League Baseball from high school. Kopech is now the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball, and Liberatore is likely to join him in the top 100 right away.
2018 MLB Draft prospects that will make the top 100 right away, via FanGraphs— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) June 4, 2018
33. Casey Mize
35. Nick Madrigal
60. Joey Bart
71. Travis Swaggerty
93. Alec Bohm
96. Matthew Liberatore
99. Nolan Gorman
100. Jarred Kelenic
103. Jonathan India
106. Carter Stewart
It’s also likely a matter of time before Nolan Gorman, the Arizona signee picked 19th overall, agrees to a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
It’ll be interesting to see how the 2019 Arizona baseball roster shakes out with many guys leaving and the high-profile recruits not making it to campus.