Although Jesus Luzardo did not become the Oakland A’s staff ace overnight, he showed plenty of reason for the team to be bullish on his future.
The Oakland A’s have high hopes for Jesus Luzardo going forward. He is viewed upon as a future ace to the rotation, the type of arm that can front the next Big Three in Oakland. After his dominant performance in the A’s bullpen over the final month of the 2019 campaign, there was hope that Luzardo would be able to step right into that role for 2020.
While he showed flashes of being that pitcher last season, Luzardo was generally inconsistent. His overall numbers, a 4.12 ERA and a 1.271 WHiP with 59 strikeouts and 17 walks over 59 innings, displayed both his potential and his inconsistencies. He would seemingly follow every strong outing with a difficult one, a part of the growing pains of a rookie pitcher.
That performance certainly has not diminished his potential. Luzardo is still viewed upon as a future top of the rotation arm, although that time may take a little longer than expected to come about.
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This does not mean that his future will be delayed for an extended period of time. Luzardo’s stuff showed how dominant he can be when everything comes together for him. His 95.4 MPH average fastball velocity was the best of any left handed starter in the game, and he can seemingly dial up the intensity at any point in time.
His secondary pitches also have the potential to be devastating. His curve and change both had a swinging strike rate of 45%, an impressive rate for such a young pitcher. As he learns the league better, and continues to develop, he could become even more dominant.
That will happen with time. Luzardo is still just 23 years old, and had his rookie campaign occur in one of the most bizarre seasons in MLB history. It was difficult for every player to find their footing last season, let alone a rookie that had such high hopes riding upon him. However, that performance last season bodes well for the future.
Jesus Luzardo may have been inconsistent, but there was plenty to like about his 2020 campaign. The Oakland A’s may have their ace in the next year or two.