Maybe more than any other sport, baseball is hard to predict how a high school kid will do in the future. Even high school seniors who are drafted in the first few rounds don't always make it big. On the other hand, there are plenty of kids who weren't maybe great prospects in high school, but have big success later on in their careers.
Adam Liberatore is a great example.
Liberatore played at Quigley Catholic High School through his junior year. He transferred to Blackhawk as a senior and played outfield and pitcher. He pitched all of 6 1/3 innings as a high school senior.
Now, Liberatore is pitching in the major leagues. And so far, things have just been perfect.
Liberatore got called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers a few days ago and pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers Friday in a 7-3 victory against the Colorado Rockies. A left-hander, Liberatore ended the game with a strikeout of former Pirate Michael McKenry.
Then Liberatore came back today against Colorado and pitched two more perfect innings with two strikeouts.
It took a while for Liberatore to get to Major League Baseball. He was a 21st round draft pick of Tampa Bay in 2010. He had been in the minor leagues since 2010 and was traded to the Dodgers in November.
So, the 27-year-old now is on the same team with Clayton Kershaw. But get this: Liberatore was a 2005 graduate of Blackhawk, and as a senior, he was 0-1 with a save. He had eight strikeouts in those 6 1/3 innings. You go from pitching 6 1/3 innings as a high school senior to pitching in the major leagues. It's a wonderful story.
Liberatore played for Blackhawk's American Legion team the summer after his senior year. Bob Amalia coached both the Blackhawk high school and Legion teams, just as he does today. Liberatore eventually signed with Tennessee Tech, but what's funny is that it was questionable what was his best position. Liberatore was 6 feet 2, 195 pounds back then. In a 2005 Post-Gazette story, Amalia said he wouldn't be surprised to see Liberatore eventually be a pitcher, but Amalia said, "He didn't pitch a lot for me in high school. But he's been timed at 89 [mph] on the mound."
Liberatore even said back then he was most comfortable in the outfield.
"I think he's better in the outfield because of his defensive ability and the way he hits," Amalia said in 2005. "But you never know."
Liberatore is the second pitcher who played for Amalia and made it to the major leagues. Brian Omogrosso is the other. In 2012 and 2013, he pitched 29 innings for the Chicago White Sox.
Another former Blackhawk pitcher, Clayton Hamilton came close to the majors, making to Class AAA. He also pitched professionally in Japan.