Although he’s only 18, the physical righty has already logged time stateside. He opened last season in the DSL, followed by two strong innings in the Rookie-Level Arizona League before two Pioneer League appearances with Missoula. He will likely head back to Short-Season ball in the Pioneer League when the season opens in June. I saw Luciano in Extended Spring Training in May.
Luciano has a moderate-effort delivery with a strong, fast arm. There’s not an issue with his mechanical operation or the lines in the delivery; the effort lies in arm recoil after a high three-quarters release. He worked in the 92-to-94 range, touching 95, showing average life and command. The fastball can be an above-average pitch right now when he extends through the pitch and gets life and angle on the ball. When he doesn’t, the pitch flattens out and is hittable in the zone, especially up. A strong athlete with a compact delivery, I project the fastball to a future 55-grade pitch with development, with enough velocity (60-grade) and movement to consistently play above-average. His curveball also flashes above-average, showing sharp 11-5 break with two-plane depth at best. It can back up on him at times, but it’s very enthusing to see feel for hard spin from a fairly on-line delivery at this age. Like most teenage pitchers, the changeup lags behind the other two pitches. He throws it with modest separation from his heater at 85-to-86 mph, and there’s less feel to keep it around the zone.
He will need to continue developing pitchability and a changeup to profile as a starter, but there are big league ingredients abound. Luciano is a potential breakout prospect that could put himself more firmly on the map with a strong showing this summer. The fastball and curveball are big league pitches at best right now, and that gives some floor in the bullpen if he falls short of a ceiling in the rotation.