Jesus Luzardo looking to come back in Rookie of the Year race
By David Hill
Jesus Luzardo may be an afterthought in the AL Rookie of the Year race right now, but a lot can change in a few weeks.
The Oakland A’s had their own Rookie of the Year candidate to start the 2020 season. Jesus Luzardo was not only expected to be a key part of the A’s rotation this year, but it was considered to be a matter of time before he ascended to the role of staff ace. Unfortunately, he was behind exiting summer camp due to testing positive for COVID-19, forcing him to start the season in the bullpen.
Despite that slow start, Luzardo has been as advertised. He has built off of his excellent 12 inning September showing in 2019, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.366 WHiP in his 33.2 innings, striking out 34 with 13 walks. That type of start to the year would normally have Luzardo in the Rookie of the Year discussion.
But this is not the normal year. The Rookie of the Year race has essentially been a runaway contest between Kyle Lewis and Luis Robert, with the two sluggers not showing any signs of slowing down.
More from White Cleat Beat
- Zach Logue yet another disappointing Oakland A’s trade return
- Luis Barrera heading to familiar foe in Los Angeles Angels
- Looking back at Ruben Sierra with the Oakland A’s
- San Francisco Giants showing Oakland A’s offseason could be worse
- Lucas Luetge what Oakland A’s need in bullpen
Robert was considered the frontrunner during the preseason and has done nothing to change that perception. In his 111 plate appearances entering Wednesday, he has produced a .284/.336/.559 batting line with seven homers and four steals. The White Sox have also been one of the better teams in the league, seemingly well on their way to a playoff berth.
Lewis, meanwhile, has been even better, with a .360/.446/568 batting line in his 130 plate appearances, hitting seven homers and stealing two bases. He leads the AL in batting average, on base percentage, and runs scored, while ranking sixth with a 1.7 bWAR. Lewis has been an MVP candidate, let alone just a possibility for the Rookie of the Year.
At this point, Luzardo is seemingly playing for third place on the ballot. But a lot can change over the final few weeks of the season. He could go on a hot streak of his own, dominating in September as the A’s seek to capture the first overall seed. Injuries can happen, particularly in a year where the Injured List seems to grow by the second. It is possible that Luzardo can find his way back into contention for the award.
Jesus Luzardo may be an afterthought for the AL Rookie of the Year, but that may not be the case come the end of the year. There is still a lot of baseball left to be played.