photo: Matthew Liberatore (Memphis Redbirds)
On Tuesday, October 5, Minor League Baseball announced its 2021 All-Star rosters for the two Triple-A leagues. The St. Louis Cardinals’ Memphis Redbirds affiliate, which competes in the 20-team East League, secured two coveted berths on the 12-man squad, and also features the top managers, pitcher, hitter and MLB prospect.
The Memphis representatives are first baseman Juan Yepez and left-handed starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore. Yepez is The Cardinal Nation’s 14th-ranked prospect. Liberatore is no. 2 (after Nolan Gorman).
Yepez, 23, who was rewarded with selection by St. Louis for the Wild Card Game, was promoted to Triple-A on June 1 after hitting five long balls the first month at Double-A Springfield. With the Redbirds, the corner infielder/outfielder blasted 22 more out of the park, with his total of 27 leading the entire Cardinals system in 2021.
Yepez’ .589 SLG and .971 OPS with Memphis led the East League.
He also paced the organization with his 29 doubles, 77 RBI, .586 slugging and .959 OPS this season and was the consensus (per the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation) system-wide Player of the Month for the month of August.
After skipping two levels to open 2021, Liberatore took some lumps early in his Triple-A debut, so his 9-9 record with a 4.04 ERA may not look spectacular. However, the 21-year-old progressively improved during the season and finished strongly.
Specifically, over his last 10 appearances, since August 1, Liberatore posted an ERA of 2.67 while averaging 6 2/3 innings in the seven games in which he started.
Both Triple-A All-Stars should report to 2022 spring training camp as strong competitors to earn their first major league roster spots.
Here are all of the Triple-A honorees:
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