What Happened in 2016: Set a Dodgers franchise record for scoreless appearances before injuries derailed his season.
Adam Liberatore began 2016 in Oklahoma City, but was called up just a couple of weeks into the season. Liberatore made thirteen appearances with no earned runs allowed before giving up two runs on three hits on May 18. He would not allow an earned run again until July 24, a good 28 appearances later. (The previous Dodger franchise record was 23 scoreless appearances, set by John Candelaria in 1991.) Liberatore’s scoreless streak totaled 22 and a third innings pitched. Batters hit just .123/.198/.192 against him during that span, and he notched 28 strikeouts versus six walks.
Dustin wrote about Liberatore’s hot start and wondered if he could keep it up.
“A deeper dive into the overall numbers show that he probably won’t be able to sustain this kind of dominance throughout the course of the season. From last season, his swinging strike rate (10.4 to 9.6 percent), ground ball rate (41.5 to 39.7 percent) and average fastball velocity (93.8 to 91.7 MPH) are all down from last season. His average launch angle allowed is up 3.4 degrees (11.5 to 14.9), meaning hitters are elevating the ball a little more. Hitters also have a 0.7 MPH increase in exit velocity from last season (89 to 89.7 MPH).”
After the earned run streak ended, Liberatore was never quite the same, largely due to injuries. Towards the end of July, he was briefly unavailable with a swollen knee. Shortly thereafter, he went to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation. He was reactivated in mid-August, and made 14 appearances throughout the remainder of the season, allowing 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings pitched.
Liberatore underwent arthroscopic left elbow debridement surgery following the close of the regular season, and was therefore unavailable for the playoffs.
2017 Status: Coming off of that elbow surgery, Liberatore is expected to be ready for the start of the 2017 season and should be the No. 2 lefty in the bullpen behind Grant Dayton.