A potential top 10 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Luzardo dropped to the Nationals in the third round after missing the entirety of his senior year following Tommy John surgery that January. He made his way to Oakland last summer as part of the return when the A’s shipped Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madsen to the Nationals, and after a strong showing on the complex in 2017 has emerged as one of the top lefties in the minors in 2018.
Luzardo hasn’t allowed a run in his last 17 innings of work, spanning three-plus starts, and is holding hitters to a .206 average for the season. Working primarily off of a mid-90s fastball that can reach 98 mph, Luzardo does an excellent job mixing-in a mid-80s changeup with sharp arm-side dive to keep hitters off balance. Already at least a plus offering, he uses his primary off-speed weapon to expand the zone away against righties and could grow the pitch into a true and consistent double-plus threat at maturity as he continues to improve his feel in the zone. Luzardo’s breaking ball is a short two-plane curve that works in the low-80s and is presently used as a change-of-pace offering to prevent hitters from sitting on his fastball-changeup plane.
Luzardo has thrown just 110 2/3 innings so far in his pro career – 67 1/3 of them coming in 2018 – but has already reached Double-A and is currently thriving through 11 starts. The young lefty won’t turn 21 until September and looks like a future number three starter who should be ready to tackle big league bats once he’s grown his breaking ball into an effective third offering. His fastball and changeup could give him two plus-plus offerings at maturity, giving him an easy fallback as a shutdown high-leverage reliever.