(Editor's note: Each day this week, we will examine a different A's prospect to assess their big-league potential and determine their possible role with the team.)
Jesús Luzardo appears destined for stardom.
The A's 21-year-old left-hander is ranked as the No. 2 pitching prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, and first among southpaws.
Luzardo has been on the fast track to the big leagues ever since the A's acquired him from Washington in 2017. He started last season at Class A Stockton, dominating hitters to the tune of 25 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.
Luzardo was quickly promoted to Double-A Midland, where he continued to impress, recording a 2.29 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 86 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings. His dominant performance earned him the opportunity to start the All-Star Futures Game for the World team.
"I think Jesús is going to come into spring training and be a factor,” A's general manager David Forst said last month. “I don't think we have to hide that. He had an incredible year. He's our top prospect.
"He's probably one of, if not the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game. So I expect he'll come into spring training and be a factor for us."
The left-hander has a good shot to open next season in Oakland's starting rotation. His stuff is phenomenal, and he commands it extraordinarily well for such a young pitcher.
Luzardo features a mid-90s fastball with sinking movement, as well as a devastating changeup. He also throws a rapidly improving curveball that he commands on both sides of the plate.
Last year in spring training, Luzardo showed his major league talent when he pitched six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He has the potential to be a No. 1 starter in Oakland for years to come.