Jesus Luzardo could be A’s ace by end of season
By David Hill
Jesus Luzardo may yet to make his first major league start, but he may be the Oakland A’s ace by the end of the season.
Expectations are sky-high for Jesus Luzardo once the 2020 season gets underway. The Oakland A’s phenom is considered not just one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but one of the top prospects period. Armed with a high octane fastball, a devastating change, and intriguing breaking pitches, Luzardo certainly has the stuff to get major league hitters out.
He showed that in the A’s bullpen last year. Luzardo was a force in September, allowing just eight baserunners on five hits and three walks in 12 innings. He struck out 16 batters in that span, notching two saves and even getting some action in the postseason. Luzardo had arrived.
That dominance had continued in spring training. While spring stats are essentially meaningless, Luzardo was still overpowering the opposition. Over his 8.1 innings, he allowed just one run on four hits and a walk, striking out 13. The A’s phenom looked ready to stake a claim to his role in the rotation.
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And he may not be done there. As currently constructed, the A’s have a solid top of the rotation, with Mike Fiers, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas as the top three. While Manaea and Montas have displayed flashes of being top of the rotation arms, neither of them have the raw stuff possessed by Luzardo.
Not only does Luzardo have an overpowering arsenal, but he also has an incredible command of his offerings. He possesses a pitchability beyond his years, spotting his pitches seemingly at will. With that arsenal, it is a matter of time before he ascends to his throne as the ace of the A’s staff.
That time could come by the end of the year. As the A’s have said he will not be on an innings limit, which a shortened season would make a moot point, Luzardo will be unleashed upon the opposition. While he will have his rough patches, it is also entirely likely that he ends up being the best pitcher on the A’s this season, taking the mantle of staff ace once the year has come to an end.
Jesus Luzardo has all the makings of being the Oakland A’s next true ace. That ascension will come sooner than later, perhaps even by the end of this year.