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Jesús Luzardo

From BR Bullpen

Jesús Guillermo Luzardo
(Lizard King)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jesús Luzardo was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 3rd round of the 2016 amateur draft, but did not pitch at all that first season because he had undergone Tommy John surgery in March of that year. A big, hard-throwing lefthander with a mastery of three pitches, he would have been drafted higher were it not for health concerns. He gave up a commitment to attend the University of Miami in order to sign with the Nats. His signing bonus was $1.4 million, over double his slot value, a sure sign that talent-wise, he was considered well above a typical third rounder.

He had just started his professional career, making 3 starts for the GCL Nationals with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 1.32 in 13 2/3 innings when on July 16, 2017, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics alongside fellow prospect Sheldon Neuse and major league P Blake Treinen in return for to big league relievers, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. He was considered the #10 prospect in the Nationals organization at the time of the trade and had been drafted just after Neuse, who had been the team's second-round choice in the 2016 draft. After the trade, he pitched for the AZL Athletics and the Vermont Lake Monsters, going a combined 2-1, 1.66 for the three teams, making 11 starts in 12 appearances and logging 43 1/3 innings. His K/W ratio was an outstanding 48/5.

He was named to the World team for the 2018 Futures Game. He pitched for three different teams that season, going from Class A to AA to AAA, ending up with the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. Overall, his record was 10-5, 2.88 in 23 starts with 129 Ks in 109 1/3 innings. An injury in spring training in 2019 delayed his season's debut until June, and he was again injured in July, resulting in two rehabilitation stints, one in the California League with the Stockton Ports and another with the AZL Athletics Green. With the A's new AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators, he went 1-1, 3.19 in 7 starts he made his much-anticipated major league debut on September 11th, pitching 3 innings in relief in a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros; the only blemish on his record was a solo homer coughed up to Martin Maldonado, a pretty good outcome when facing the most dangerous line-up in the major leagues that season. He ended up pitching 6 times in relief, with 2 saves and an ERA of 1.50. That was enough to convince the A's to add him to their postseason roster. He pitched three masterful innings in relief in Oakland's 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Game on October 2nd, allowing just 1 hit and a pair of walks while striking out 4.

He made the A's opening day roster for the delayed start of the 2020 season, and after a couple of relief appearances, made his first major league start on August 3rd against the Texas Rangers. It was another impressive outing as he shut them out for 5 innings, giving up just 2 hits and 2 outs while striking out 5. He was not involved in the decision. He picked up his first career win on August 9th, 7-2 over the Houston Astros. It was also the A's 9th straight win. He went 3-2, 3.12 in 12 games, including 9 starts, with 59 strikeouts in 59 innings. He started two games in the postseason: in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, against the Chicago White Sox on September 29th, he gave up 3 runs in 3 1/3 innings and was charged with his team's 4-1 loss. He returned to start Game 3 of the ALDS against the Astros on October 7th, but was again hit hard, giving up 4 runs in 4 1/3 innings. He had a no-decision this time, but the A's won the game. 9-7. He gave up 4 homers in the two starts. In 2021, he got off to a rough start, going 1-3, 5.79 in his first six starts, in spite of his team reeling off a 13-game winning streak during that span. On May 1st, he banged his pitching hand on a desk while playing a video game, but still made his scheduled start against the Baltimore Orioles, giving up 6 runs in 3 innings. It turned out he had broken his little finger, and he was placed on the injured list after the game. He came back on May 30th, but by that point he had lost his spot in the starting rotation. He made 7 appearances, all in relief, with poor results, then was sent down to the minors on June 21st. His ERA had ballooned to 6.87 in 38 innings by that point. On July 28th, the A's used him as trade bait, sending him to his hometown Miami Marlins in return for OF Starling Marte. The Marlins brought him up immediately and he started his career with his new team on the right foot, by defeating the New York Mets, 6-3, on August 2nd.

He has no relations with 1990s alternative rock band the Jesus Lizard, but he does have a sense of humor as his twitter handle is "Baby_Jesus9". His family is of Venezuelan background, but he was born in Peru, where his family lived for a couple of years before moving to south Florida when he was one year old. He was the first player born in Peru to reach the major leagues. In the spring of 2018, just as he was heading to spring training with the A's, he was shaken by the tragic shooting at his alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, resulting in 17 deaths and many more wounded. One of the victims, the school's athletic director Chris Hixon, was instrumental in helping Luzardo prepare for his professional career. After visiting the site of the tragedy to provide support alongside its most famous alumnus, Anthony Rizzo, he decided to create a scholarship fund in Hixon's name.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2023)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Martín Gallegos: "Luzardo debuts with 3 IP of high-stakes relief: A's top prospect clocked at 98 mph, allows one hit (solo HR)", mlb.com, September 12, 2019. [1]
  • Chelsea Janes: "Nationals third-round draft pick Jesus Luzardo hopes to become first Peruvian-born big-leaguer", The Washington Post, June 20, 2016. [2]

Related Sites[edit]