In what was considered a bit of a shocker around baseball on Wednesday, the Miami Marlins traded outfielder Starling Marte to the Oakland Athletics. While the Marlins trading Marte was not much of a shocker as it was expected after the veteran outfielder and Miami were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, the return the Marlins received for Marte was a bit shocking.
In what was a one-for-one player swap in the deal, the Marlins received 23-year old left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo from the Athletics in return for Marte.
While not holding his “prospect” status anymore, Luzardo is still widely considered as one of the top young left-handed arms in baseball. When looking at Luzardo going forward as well, he has the potential to be a mainstay for the Marlins rotation for years to come.
Get to Know new Miami Marlins left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo.
A native of Parkman, FL, Luzardo attended Stoneman Douglas High School where he was drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals. However, Luzardo was traded to the Oakland Athletics a year later as part of the deal that sent Sean Doolittle to the Nationals.
After posting a combined 1.66 ERA during his first professional season between the two organizations, Luzardo began the 2018 season by dominating High-A posting a 1.23 ERA during three starts. The left-hander quickly earned a promotion to Double-A as a 20-year old where he would spend a majority of the season posting a 7-3 record with a 2.29 ERA with 18 walks and 86 strikeouts across 16 starts.
After earning a promotion to Triple-A later that season, Luzardo struggled in limited action, but it was more than enough to end the 2018 MLB campaign ranked as the Athletics No. 1 prospect, as well as the No. 12 prospect in all of baseball.
Firmly cemented as one of the top pitching prospects in the game entering the 2019 season, Luzardo remained Oakland’s top prospect, as well as No. 18 in all of baseball. Starting the season in Triple-A, Luzardo posted a 3.19 ERA across seven starts before earning a big league call-up pitching out of the Athletics bullpen where he posted a 1.50 ERA across 12 innings pitched with three walks and 16 strikeouts.
Losing his prospect status during the 2020 season, the left-hander worked primarily as a starter for the Athletics posting a 3-2 record with a 4.12 ERA across 59 innings pitched. So far this season, Luzardo has split time between Triple-A and the big leagues posting an ERA north of six in both.
The 23-year old left-hander despite his recent struggles is still considered one of the top young southpaws in baseball. Still under team control for the foreseeable future, the Marlins will have the chance to develop Luzardo where there will arguably be not as much pressure on him pitching in a deep Marlins rotation, compared to being the top prospect with a lot of hype in Oakland’s.
Pitch-wise, Luzardo displays a five-pitch mix that includes a four-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, slider, and changeup. Luzardo does a nice-job of mixing each well, and features a lot of movement with strong velocity. While he has split time between the rotation and the bullpen, Luzardo has the potential to be a top-end of the rotation starter.
At first glance, the acquisition of Luzardo appears to be a phenomenal pickup for the Miami Marlins going forward. While the recent numbers may be concerning, Luzardo is still very young, and will have plenty of time to develop in what should be an outstanding starting rotation entering the 2022 season.