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."
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.