- Full name Luis David Liberato
- Born 12/18/1995 in La Canela, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- Debut 09/10/2022
Organization Prospect Rankings
Since signing with the Mariners for $140,000 in 2012, Liberato has consistently flashed outstanding defensive tools and speed but never answered whether he can hit enough to be a major league contributor. Liberato is streaky and inconsistent, and struggles mightily to hit lefthanded pitchers. That inconsistency comes from how he sets his hands at the plate, in that he locks them deep, sometimes up and sometimes down. He's also plagued by high strikeout totals, including a 26 percent mark in 2017. Liberato is a plus runner and better underway, but stole only 12 bases in 20 attempts. He uses his speed in the outfield and tracks balls well, and is good at going back on balls over his shoulder. He has an average arm with above-average accuracy. Liberato's defense is promising, but he needs to improve his consistency at the plate and contact skills to be a backup outfielder. He will probably return to the Cal League in 2018 for more seasoning.
Liberato signed for $140,000 as a 17-year-old international free agent in 2012 and climbed the minor league ladder since. He shows flashes of multi-tool potential and has developed into a plus defender in center field with above-average speed and instincts, but his bat continues to develop slowly while injuries hamper him. Liberato missed 40 games in 2016 because of two separate disabled-list stints for pulled hamstrings, which followed a leg injury that cost him a month in 2015. Liberato possesses a pure lefthanded swing he uses to drive the ball into the gaps for doubles and triples, but he struggles to make consistent contact. His power grades as below-average, and his raw speed generated just four stolen bases in 2016. Liberato is increasingly starting to profile as defense-driven fourth or fifth outfielder, but he has a chance to give his offense a jolt in the California League at high Class A Modesto in 2016.
The Mariners jumped the 19-year-old Liberato from the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014 to the low Class A Midwest League in 2015. The experiment did not go well. He managed just a .133 batting average before he injured his leg in May and missed a month. He returned in early June, went hitless in 11 at-bats and was sent down to short-season Everett. It was there that he began to show flashes of the multi-tool potential the Mariners envisioned when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 for $140,000. Liberato had a hitch in his swing when they signed him but he's developed a pure lefthanded stroke with plus bat speed that produces gap power, which should grow into more as he fills out. He's a plus runner on the bases and in center field, and those who believe in him envision Liberato as a future 20-20 player. He's an instinctive center fielder with above-average arm strength. He takes good routes and uses his speed to track down balls. He should get another crack at the Midwest League in 2016.
The Mariners went through a significant changeover in 2012 when longtime international scouting director Bob Engle left the organization. New director Tim Kissner's first significant signing after taking over was Liberato, a 17-year-old Dominican outfielder who signed for $140,000 in 2012. He looked overmatched in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014, but he does show excellent feel for the game, and he should gain bat speed and power as he gains strength and weight. He has a solid understanding of the strike zone and will draw a walk, but until he hits the ball with more authority, it won't matter all that much. Liberato will likely never have plus power, but his frame should allow him to eventually have at least average power. He's also an average runner whose feel for reads and jumps should allow him to stick in center at least for the next few years. He's got a tick above-average arm that could fit in right field as well. After a rough AZL season, he'll spend the first half of the season in extended spring training before likely heading on to short-season Everett in 2015.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Seattle Mariners in 2020
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Seattle Mariners in 2018
Liberato got significantly stronger over the past year to give him newfound offensive thump to go with his excellent defense in center field. His power has ticked up to average and he now makes enough impactful contact to potentially rise as a reserve outfielder, whereas before his bat was too light to project in any kind of significant major league role.