Analyzing the problem with key Miami Marlins starting pitcher

Jesus Luzardo has been far from an ace this season so far
Jesus Luzardo
Jesus Luzardo / Rich Storry/GettyImages

One of the biggest issues facing the Miami Marlins this season was losing ace Sandy Alcantara for the season. This meant that Jesus Luzardo was expected to be the team's ace. It of course hasn't been the case. Ironically, this might actually increase Luzardo's chances to stay on the team. So...what's wrong with him? Why is he pitching so poorly? Will he turn it around tonight against the Chicago Cubs?

Jesus Luzardo hasn't been the ace that the Miami Marlins needed this season.

I wanted to analyze Jesus Luzardo's production to see what's been going wrong for him this season. Luzardo had a big 2023 season, as he delivered a 3.58 ERA/3.55 FIP, in 32 games and 178.2 innings pitched. From 2019 to 2022, he had a 4.59 ERA/4.18 FIP, with 9.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 61 games and 266.2 innings pitched, for the Oakland Athletics (2019-2021) and then the Miami Marlins.

This season....he has a 7.65 ERA/5.85 FIP with 9.45 K/9 and 4.50 BB/9 in 4 games and 20.0 innings pitched. As you can see already his control has been an issue. Luzardo has a career 3.25 BB/9, so the walk rate is a bit high. The strikeout rate is a bit down as well. How about his fastball velocity? He had a 96.7 velocity last season, but has 96.0 this season. It doesn't look like anything really changed there that much.

Diving deeper, Jesus Luzardo is throwing his fastball around the same amount of times as last season...45.7% last season and 45.9% this season. He has however been getting less strikeouts with it compared to last season (19.4% to 15.8%). There's no real change for his slider, but he has been throwing his changeup less. He threw it 21% of the time last season and is throwing it at a 15.8% rate this season. Interestingly, he went from a 36.1% strikeout ate last season to a 50% rate this season.

One culprit that is behind his problems is the bloated HR/9 rate. He has a career 1.30 rate and had a 1.11 rate last season. This season however, it's 2.25. I can go on, but for the most part there hasn't been much of a change in his underlying metrics. At least not significant enough to warrant these changes. I'm pretty optimistic on him turning things around...perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Next. 3 players who badly need to turn things around. 3 players who badly need to turn things around. dark