At only 21 years old, Jesus Luzardo has a chance to make the A's Opening Day starting rotation. After his first spring training bullpen this year, manager Bob Melvin was already impressed.
"He knows there's a spotlight on him," Melvin told reporters in Arizona on Tuesday. "What really stands out -- he's got an upper 90s heater, but it's his breaking stuff that kind of sets him apart in who he is right now, both changeup and breaking ball."
— Oakland Athletics 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) February 12, 2019
All eyes will be on Luzardo in spring training this year. He's the A's top prospect, and the top left-handed pitcher in all of the minor leagues. His offspeed pitches, as Melvin noted, are nothing to scoff at, too.
On the 20/80 scouting scale, MLB Pipeline rates Luzardo's fastball as his top pitch with a 65 grade. Not far behind, though, are his changeup (60) and curveball (55).
Luzardo pitched at three levels last season, making it to Triple-A for his final four starts. He finished 2018 with a 10-5 record and 2.88 ERA, striking out 129 batters in 109.1 innings pitched.
The A's current rotation is a mixed bag full of mystery. With an impressive showing in the desert, the left-handed Luzardo could emerge as a serious candidate to crack the team's starting five at the start of the season.