Shortly after the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations, he completed a trade with his former club. Friedman plucked Adam Liberatore from the Rays’ farm system and veteran reliever Joel Peralta, in exchange for Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.
Peralta made the Dodgers’ 2015 Opening Day roster, but Liberatore, who tossed 10.1 scoreless innings over 11 appearances, began the year with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Friedman projected Liberatore would quickly join the club, which held true as he was recalled April 18, 2015.
Liberatore remained with the Dodgers through July and returned in September. He was on a similar path this spring after getting sent to Minor League camp on March 28 in the first of several moves to inch closer to setting the Opening Day roster.
That didn’t sit particularly well with the left-handed reliever who had another solid showing during Cactus League play. It prompted Liberatore to make a bold claim which was met by a challenge from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, per Nick Krueger of MLB.com:
Dodgers left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore informed manager Dave Roberts in Spring Training that he’s the best left-handed reliever in the Major Leagues. Roberts told him to “prove it.”
“I like the way people say things and then back them up, and I challenged him and he responded,” Roberts said. “That’s what I like.”
Liberatore was also confident the Dodgers would call him up from the Minors, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:
“I told them when I got sent down that they were making a mistake,” Liberatore said. “I just knew I would go down to Triple-A, do my thing,” Liberatore said. “I knew they would want me here.”
By April 14, the left-handed reliever was recalled from Oklahoma City after just four innings over three games. Liberatore threw 10 scoreless innings in 13 relief appearances before allowing two earned runs on May 18.
He responded by throwing 22.1 shutout innings in a stretch that spanned two months. Liberatore set a Dodgers franchise record on July 9 with his 24th consecutive scoreless appearances. He extended it to 28 appearances in a streak that was snapped Sunday night.
On the season the 29 year old owns a minuscule 1.35 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 43 games, which is already more than the 39 games he appeared in last season as a rookie. Opponents are hitting .174/.260/.252 off Liberatore this season.