Matthew Liberatore developed his “stuff” that has the Tampa Bay Rays encouraged in former pro pitcher Jonathan Huizinga’s back yard.
Growing up, the left-handed Liberatore, who grew to 6-foot-5, 200 pounds with some of the nastiest stuff in the nation last high school season at Glendale Mountain Ridge, used throw-back equipment and learned techniques from Huizinga.
After being the 16th overall pick of June’s Major League Baseball draft, Liberatore was slowly paced, his innings gradually expanded in rookie ball, getting promoted late in the summer from the Gulf Coast Rays to the Princeton club.
He finished with an earned-run average of 1.38 in 32 2/3 innings, striking out 37 and walking 13 and not giving up a home run. Opponents batted .189 against him, .170 in 22 2/3 innings on the Gulf Coast team.
Liberatore is back home now, and back to work in Huizinga’s new lab, called Fuel Factory that opened a month ago in north Phoenix for budding baseball players of any age.
Anthony Liberatore, Matthew’s dad, is a partner with Huizinga in the new baseball training facility. Matthew is the face of it.
There is a photo of Matthew on the home page of the Fuel Factory website with “Maximizing the athlete within,” written above his picture.
“It’s for players to come and get better,” Anthony Liberatore said. “We run them through a circuit that addresses the complete athlete. They’re lifting weights. They’re going through body-weight movement, flexibility. There is speed and agility stuff.”