No matter what outlet you look at, the A's top three prospects usually goes as follows: Pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, and then catcher Sean Murphy.
It's a bit different for The Athletic's Keith Law, though. While Law agrees the trio is Oakland's three best prospects, he doesn't agree with the order of many others. Puk is the A's top prospect at No. 21 in Law's top 100, followed by Luzardo at 26 and Murphy at 36.
Luzardo's injury history concerns Law.
"If he can hold up as a starter, he has a higher pure ceiling than teammate A.J. Puk, with better secondaries and probably better present command," Law says. "But he just hasn’t shown a track record of durability or health, even going back to high school, to instill confidence that he can take the ball 30 times."
A shoulder strain held Luzardo out for the first two months of the season last year. He then dealt with a setback in July when he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lat strain.
Puk doesn't have a clean bill of health either. The 6-foot-7 left-hander was threatening to make the Opening Day roster out of spring in 2018, but underwent Tommy John surgery in April and missed the first two months of last season.
When the two are healthy, however, they're two of the best young southpaws in baseball. Puk, 24, showcased his potential by striking out former NL MVP Kris Bryant on three pitches, highlighted by a nasty slider.
AJ Puk started his spring off by retiring Kris Bryant on three straight pitches. pic.twitter.com/DnyylSJBo8— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) February 23, 2020
The lanky lefty made his MLB debut on Aug. 21 last season and appeared in 10 games out of the bullpen. He went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and struck out 13 batters in 11 1/3 innings. His command could hurt him, but Law believes Puk will at least be a solid No. 2 in the rotation.
"He may never have the command to be an ace, but he looks like he’ll miss enough bats with the three primary weapons to be a good No. 2," Law says.
Luzardo, 22, needed only 43 innings in the minors last year before making his big league debut on Sept. 11. Once he reached Oakland, Luzardo only allowed two earned runs over 12 innings and notched 16 strikeouts.
But since the Washington Nationals selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft, Luzardo only has averaged slightly over 65 innings pitched per season.
Even with their age and injury histories, Puk and Luzardo easily could become the A's aces this season in a deep rotation. New ballpark or not, the future is bright in Oakland.