Elvis Luciano

From BR Bullpen

Elvis Enmanuel Luciano

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 184 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Elvis Luciano was signed as a 16-year-old by the Arizona Diamondbacks October 1, 2016 and spent one year in their organization, pitching for three different teams in 2017: the DSL Diamondbacks 1, the AZL Diamondbacks and the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. He went a combined 4-1, 2.84 in 16 games, with 52 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings. He was traded to the Kansas City Royals along with Gabe Speier in return for Jon Jay on June 6, 2018. He was mainly with the Burlington Royals of the Appalachian League that season, where he made 11 starts, but he also made a couple of scoreless appearances for the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League, ending up as the winning pitcher in both contests. Overall, he went 5-5, 3.90, pitching 67 innings, with 70 Ks and 23 walks.

Following the 2018 season, he was made available in the 2018 Rule V Draft due to a loophole stemming from his trade. The Toronto Blue Jays pounced on the opportunity to add such an electrifying young arm as his to their organization at a very low cost. The move attracted a lot of criticism from observers who could not imagine what such a young and raw pitcher could do on a major league roster. However, others explained that this was in fact a smart low-cost and potentially very high reward move. Since the Jays had already made it known that they would be going on a youth kick in 2019, were not expected to be competitive and thus were in a perfect position to carry a youngster such as Luciano on their roster if he showed enough potential in spring training and a trade could not be worked out with the Royals to allow him to get further minor league experience. The Jays had room on their roster to pick Elvis because they had released SS Troy Tulowitzki a few days earlier, swallowing a huge pile of salary cost in the process, and had declined placing other prospects in the spot, such as Ps Jordan Romano and Travis Bergen, who were both snapped up by other teams in the same draft. However, both of these pitchers were older, and while close to major league ready, had limited upside.

Luciano did in fact make the Jays' team out of spring training and he became the first player born in the 21st century to play in the majors when he made his debut in the season's fourth game, on March 31st. He came in with 2 outs in the 7th inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers and Toronto trailing, 3-0. He got Nicholas Castellanos to fly out to center to end the inning, then in the 8th allowed a one-out double to Niko Goodrum and issued an intentional walk to Christin Stewart, but retired the other three batters he faced, including striking out Mikie Mahtook for the final out, in what was a very solid first outing. He earned his first major league win on April 28th, when he came in relief of Thomas Pannone in the 11th inning after Pannone had allowed two runs and loaded the bases against the Oakland Athletics. He hit Matt Chapman with his first pitch, bringing the A's lead to 4-1, but then got Khris Davis to fly out to end the inning. The Blue Jays then staged a tremendous comeback at the expense of Blake Treinen in the bottom of the 11th, with a three-run homer by Brandon Drury and a game-winning single by Justin Smoak, and Luciano received credit for the 5-4 win. He was obviously the first pitcher born in the 2000s to record a win, but also the youngest pitcher in Blue Jays history to do so.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gregor Chisholm: "In surprise move, Blue Jays take teen in Rule 5: Blue Jays confident in 18-year-old, who has never pitched above Rookie level", mlb.com, December 13, 2018. [1]
  • Gregor Chisholm: "Luciano MLB's 1st 21st-century player to debut: Richard in no-throw situation; Galvis continues streak", mlb.com, March 31, 2019. [2]

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