Baker and Liberatore Named Cardinals April 2023 Player and Pitcher of the Month

photo: Matthew Liberatore (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

Baker led all Cardinals Minor Leaguers in OPS, HR, hits and total bases; Liberatore topped all MiLB hurlers in strikeouts to earn third monthly team honor.

St. Louis Cardinals release

The St. Louis Cardinals today (Thursday, May 4) announced their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, with Memphis Redbirds (AAA) teammates 1B Luken Baker and LHP Matthew Liberatore taking home the honors.

Baker, 26, led all qualified Cardinals minor leaguers with a .716 slugging percentage, a 1.166 OPS and ranked first for the month in hits (28), home runs (10), extra-base hits (15), total bases (63), walks (21) and runs (24) to go along with a .318 batting average (4th), .450 on-base percentage (2nd) and 22 RBI (2nd).  He reached base safely in 23 of 26 games played and matched his career-best with a home run in four straight games from April 25-28.  It is Baker’s first career Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month award win.

Luken Baker

“Luken put together a strong start in April for Memphis, highlighted by his 10 HR, which were tied for second-most among all minor league players, and a 1.166 OPS,” said Cardinals Assistant GM & Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.

The 6’4”, right-handed hitter was drafted by the organization in the 2nd round (75th overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft out of TCU.  Last season, Baker finished among Cardinals minor league leaders in home runs (21, T2nd), RBI (66, 6th) and total bases (183, 6th).  His 58 home runs hit since the 2021 season also lead all Cardinals minor leaguers.

Liberatore, 23, posted a 3-1 record with a 2.14 ERA (8 ER/33.2 IP), 1.10 WHIP and .212 average against in April.  He tallied three outings of at least 5.0 innings with no runs allowed, limited opponents to four hits or less in five of his six starts and tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts at Gwinnett on April 12.  The 6’5”, southpaw becomes the first Memphis Redbirds player in franchise history to win three career Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month awards after receiving the honor in June and August of 2021.

Matthew Liberatore

“Matthew was very effective in six April starts, tossing 33.2 innings while striking out a MiLB-leading 45 batters,” stated LaRocque.

Ranked as the 79th overall MLB prospect entering the season by Baseball America, Liberatore was a 1st round selection (16th overall) out of Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) in the 2018 MLB Draft and was acquired from Tampa Bay via a four-player trade in January 2020.  He made his Major League debut on May 21, 2022 in Pittsburgh and earned his first career MLB win in his second career start with five shutout innings versus Milwaukee on May 28.

Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinal Nation’s April selections, announced earlier this week were Baker and Palm Beach pitcher Max Rajcic. You can read about the winners and how they compare to a number of finalists in the articles below.

The Cardinal Nation April 2023 Player of the Month – Luken Baker

The Cardinal Nation’s April 2023 Pitcher of the Month – Max Rajcic

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