Thursday, August 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays sign top draft pick Matt Liberatore

UPDATE, 6:32: Liberatore was happy to sign (for around $3.5M), happy to be with the Rays and happy to get his pro career started, heading to Port Charlotte on Wednesday to join the Gulf Coast League team.

Also, he has aunt/uncle who live in Tampa,  Vicki and Doug Dunbar, and are big Rays fans, and other aunt and uncle in Punta Gorda.

All seems to have worked out well.

"I didn't really go into it with any expectation so I wasn't expecting to go anywhere in particular," Liberatore said. "I'm not resentful to the teams that didn't pick me and I don't wish I fell any further than I did. I'm happy right where I am.

"At the end of the day my competition is myself. I'm facing the guy in the mirror trying to make each day my best day yet. So I'm excited to be with the Tampa Bay Rays."

DEVELOPING: The Rays have signed top draft pick LHP Matt Liberatore.

Liberatore, a high school pitcher from Arizona, was the No. 16 overall pick in last week's draft.

The Rays were praised by several draft analysts for getting Liberatore in the middle of the draft given early chatter he was a top five pick.

The deal is reportedly for around $3.5 million, just under slot value.

"As an organization, we believe that Matthew has the physical and mental ability to develop into a top-end starting pitching prospect," Rays amateur scouting director Rob Metzler said in a team release.

"Through hard work to this point in his career, Matthew has shown an advanced ability to compete with an impressive repertoire of pitches and an arm action and delivery built for sustained success. On top of his physical ability, he is a young man with strong character and a great mental foundation for playing baseball. We believe these ingredients will continue to flourish in our system. We are thrilled that we were able to complete a deal so quickly after the draft in order to get Matthew started on his professional journey."

Liberatore, 18, went 8-1 with a 0.93 ERA (60.1-IP, 8-ER) and 104 strikeouts as a senior at Mountain Ridge (Az.) High, leading then to the Class 6A state championship game. He was named Arizona's Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year.

He also was tabbed as a first team Rawlings/Perfect Game All-American,  and last summer pitched 12 scoreless innings for USA Baseball's 18U National Team, recording the win in their gold medal game over Korea.

Comments
Rays journal: Offense finally shows up in 6-1 win over Yankees

Rays journal: Offense finally shows up in 6-1 win over Yankees

NEW YORK —  The Rays were looking for something to spark their once-again stagnant offense, and it came in somewhat unexpected ways in a 6-1 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.Rookie INF/OF Brandon Lowe, who didn't have a hit in his first 1...
Updated: 6 hours ago
As the Rays turn: Tommy Pham activated, Jake Faria demoted

As the Rays turn: Tommy Pham activated, Jake Faria demoted

OF Tommy Pham only needed seven innings in leftfield and four at-bats for short-season Class A Hudson Valley on Wednesday to determine his fractured right foot was healed and he will rejoin the Rays for Thursday's matinee at Yankee Stadium.Pham was i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays core that finishes season will be one that starts 2019, Stuart Sternberg says

Rays core that finishes season will be one that starts 2019, Stuart Sternberg says

NEW YORK — No, the Rays won't sit tight the whole off­season without changing their roster. That's not their style. There's going to be a trade or two. They'll dump somebody whose salary exceeds his value. With only maybe $30 million or so...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ win over the Yankees

1. Welcome back, Kevin Kiermaier. For one night, anyway, the slumping centerfielder looked like the kind of game-changer the Rays expect, rapping a few hits, racing around the bases and roaming the outfield, making leaping catches and laser-like thro...
Updated: 6 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Jake Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Jake Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:25: The lat strain sustained by RHP Wilmer Font in June has proved to be serious, Cash saying today: "In all likelihood it will be really challenging to see him at any point the rest of this year."UPDATE, 6:07: Cash said they are expecting ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ 4-1 loss to the Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from the Rays’ 4-1 loss to the Yankees

1. Jalen Beeks doesn't have much margin for error. As billed, Beeks doesn't have overpowering stuff. Thus, he relies on mixing his pitches and sequencing them to his advantage, but he also has to throw them where he aims them.2. RHP Hunter Wood is in...
Published: 08/15/18
Rays morning after: Jake Faria looks for Blake Snell-like turnaround

Rays morning after: Jake Faria looks for Blake Snell-like turnaround

RHP Jake Faria is a team player, but he welcomes the chance to make a traditional start Wednesday night for the Rays against the Yankees rather than come out of the bullpen."I have more time as a starter to get ready for the day, I can take things a ...
Published: 08/15/18
Archer trade gets even better as Rays add promising young pitcher

Archer trade gets even better as Rays add promising young pitcher

NEW YORK — The return the Rays got from the Pirates for Chris Archer already looked good.Right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been increasingly impressive in three starts using his high-octane fastball and cruel breaking balls, and outfielder Austin ...
Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/15/18
Rays journal: Solid not good enough in loss to Yankees

Rays journal: Solid not good enough in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK — The Rays got another solid outing from LHP Jalen Beeks on Tuesday, though the few mistakes he did make were costly. Add their inability to muster much of anything offensively against J.A. Happ and two relievers, and the result was ye...
Published: 08/14/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, opening a challenging week

For starters: Rays at Yankees, opening a challenging week

The Rays are in New York tonight to open – assuming the rain clears out – a challenging week of playing the AL East heavyweight Yankees and Red Sox.RHP Hunter Wood is slated to be on the mound to open the game for the Rays. LHP J.A. Happ ...
Published: 08/14/18