Jesus Luzardo Scouting Report
Do you hear that? No? Listen real carefully. That sound you hear is Jesus Luzardo knocking on the door to the Majors after another stellar minor league campaign. All he’s done since being drafted is dominate as his career 2.53 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 10.4 K/9 stat line shows. Now, plenty of pitching prospects have put up great numbers, only to flounder out against advanced competition in the Majors. There’s a reason why the Major Leagues is the highest level of baseball on the planet. And like I’ve said many times, statistics don’t always tell the full story.
As sexy as those numbers are, they aren’t the reason why I consider Luzardo to be one of the three best pitching prospects in the game along with Forrest Whitley and the injured Michael Kopech. No, he’s on this lofty pedestal due to his top-of-the-rotation arsenal, command, and advanced feel for pitching. Some have him penciled in as a future No. 2 or 3 starter. I consider that to be his floor. But I don’t want to give it all away here in the intro. Let’s get into the actual scouting report where I’ll drool even more about the southpaw.
By the way, Luzardo struck out Mike Trout back in 2018 Spring Training. Just thought you should know. Dude is just one of the best hitters we’ve ever seen. No big deal.
Jesus Luzardo Scouting Report
Tools are on the 20-80 scouting scale (Current/future projection)
Height/Weight: 6’1/205 lbs
Age: 21, DOB: 9/30/97
Drafted: 2016 – 3rd round (Washington Nationals)
2018 Season Review (A+/AA/AAA)
No issues here. Luzardo toes the rubber slightly facing the first base side. He uses a waist-high leg kick and will vary the duration of the leg kick at times to try and throw off the hitter’s timing. Movement towards home plate is fluid with good leg extension and the arm slot is slightly above 3/4 with good deception and arm speed. Luzardo’s mechanics are clean and he is able to repeat his delivery consistently.
Luzardo did have some elbow issues in the past, which led to Tommy John surgery before being drafted, but there’s nothing in this delivery that worries me too much about future elbow/arm issues. Sure, it’s never ideal to see a young pitcher go see the infamous Dr. James Andrews, but if there are future arm or elbow issues, it won’t be due to his mechanics or delivery.
Fastball 65/70, Curveball 60, Changeup 65, Control/Command 60
Fastball – Plus and improving. Thrown in the low to mid-90’s with arm side run and sink. Has added velocity over the last 12-18 months since recovering from Tommy John surgery and ramped it up into the 97-98 range on occasion. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him add another tick or two in next year or so. Commands the pitch well down in the zone and can elevate when needed.
#Athletics top prospect Jesus Luzardo continued his dominant season, striking out 6 in 5 scoreless frames in his @nashvillesounds debut last night, earning the win and throwing 52 of 76 pitches for strikes: https://t.co/8VsAKsCfcE pic.twitter.com/IDdY4O68M1
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 7, 2018
Changeup- This is Luzardo’s best secondary offering. Due to his arm slot and arm speed, hitters have a difficult time picking it up out of his hand and often swing over it due to the strong fade and sink on the pitch. Luzardo commands his changeup very well and can locate it on both sides of the plate making it a tough pitch for both right-handed and left-handed batters, especially the righties. Overall, a plus-plus offering.
Curveball – Flashes plus with good shape and hard 11-5 break. Luzardo will vary with the velocity of his curve, adding some nice deception. At the very least this is an above-average pitch with plus upside or better if he develops more consistency with it. If he does, watch out. The hard break is already tough to square up, so if he develops better command of the pitch, Luzardo will have a third plus or better pitch in his arsenal.
— Real McCoy Sports Cards (@RealMcCoyBreaks) April 6, 2018
Overall/Future Value – 65/65, Little Risk
He might not be as flashy as a Kopech or Whitley, but Luzardo has a chance to be one of the top pitchers in the game within the next few years. His combination of stuff, command, projectability, and feel for pitching is a rare combination to have. Luzardo might never be a Max Scherzer or Chris Sale type, racking up 300-strikeout seasons, but I can easily see him becoming a Madison Bumgarner type ace with low ratios, a strong walk rate, and around a strikeout per inning.
After receiving four starts with Triple-A Nashville in 2018, expect Luzardo to return to the level to begin 2019. He shouldn’t be there for long though and could realistically win a rotation spot with a strong showing in Spring Training, though, mid-season is more realistic. I’m projecting him for around 12-18 MLB starts in 2019. Luzardo is a strong buy in dynasty leagues and worth a late-round flier in AL-Only formats.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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