Mariners Top 20 Prospects: #8 CF Luis Liberato

August 10, 2015; Vancouver, BC, CAN; Everett AquaSox center fielder Luis Liberato (2). Mandatory Credit: Brian Helberg-SoDo Mojo
August 10, 2015; Vancouver, BC, CAN; Everett AquaSox center fielder Luis Liberato (2). Mandatory Credit: Brian Helberg-SoDo Mojo /

Luis Liberato still has a long road ahead of him, but if he continues to progress, he will find himself in the Emerald City before long.

The Seattle Mariners signed Luis Liberato as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He has not progressed as quickly as the M’s were hoping, but Liberato still has the potential to patrol the outfield at Safeco Field in the future.

More from Mariners News

The 20-year-old began his professional career in 2013 with the Mariners’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. Liberato fared reasonably well in his home country, hitting .255 with 2 home runs, 17 RBI and 14 stolen bases across 57 games. He struck out 50 times and worked 23 walks in 233 plate appearances. Liberato posted an impressive .338 on base percentage and slugged .353.

The Mariners opted to bring Liberato stateside in 2014, and they sent him to their affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League. The young outfielder struggled mightily at the plate, slashing .211/.325/.314 across 210 plate appearances. Liberato added 6 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs, 14 RBI and 14 steals in 50 games. His .325 on base percentage was a silver lining, but Liberato was a disaster in the desert.

The La Canela, DR product showed considerable improvement last summer with the Everett AquaSox. Liberato hit .26o with 5 home runs and 31 RBI through 53 games in the Northwest League. He posted a .341 on base percentage and slugged .453 in 215 plate appearances. Liberato is always a threat on the base paths, and he tallied 10 steals.

More from SoDo Mojo

Liberato is a decent defender in center field, but he is a notch below fellow prospects Braden Bishop and Austin Cousino. He has registered a .970 fielding percentage during his career, and has a 2.58 range factor per 9 innings. Liberato is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and Seattle will likely shift him to one of the corners in the future. His arm is accurate, and scouts have suggested it is more than strong enough to play right field.

Liberato is a quick twitch athlete, who can do a little bit of everything. He may not be a true 5-tool outfield prospect, but I love his versatility. Liberato has the potential to hit for average and has more pop than you would expect from his 6’1/175 pound frame. He hits and throws from the left side.

Next: Seattle Mariners Season Preview: Kyle Seager

There is a lot to like about Luis Liberato, and the Mariners are hopeful he will take another step forward in his development in 2016. The Mariners will likely start Liberato with the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League. Ideally, he will earn a midseason promotion to the Bakersfield Blaze. Jerry Dipoto plans to be patient with the M’s prospects, and it is difficult to envision Liberato debuting in the Emerald City before the 2019 season.