School: Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (Parkland, FL)
The current version of the MLB First-Year Player draft has teams exploring ways of garnering the system to extract extra talent that their limited resources can still acquire. One of these is is lower than slot deals that are somewhat agreed upon before the draft. These deals usually come with guys that are expected to be drafted later. Sometimes it has to do with an injury, or the fact that their a college senior.
Jesus Luzardo is the case of injury but is unique in that he's a high school kid that reportedly is ready to take less money. Despite being a commit to University of Miami, traditionally a hard school to sign a commit from, he wants the pros.
He had Tommy John surgery back in March and it was performed by the infamous Dr. James Andrews. That usually takes high school pitchers out of the draft and sends them to college. Pitchers like Lucas Giolito are not the norm.
Before the injury, he was a helium prospect due to a rise in fastball velocity from topping out at 93 in Perfect Game events to topping out at 97 mph in high school games. He was already a pitcher with a plus two-plane curveball and a potential plus changeup. He also drew rave reviews for pitchability.
Mechanically, he didn't do much to stand out and even had his arm pointing up at foot strike (something that TJ phobics recommend, I personally don't care). He has decent use of his legs. But, overall they were very simple mechanics that needed general polishing that every high schooler needed.
His big breaking curveball will play. The fact he had Tommy John is a concern and something that could impact his future. For that reason there's significant risk of flaming out in the minors.
Mid-90's fastball. Plus curve. Potential plus changeup. Plus pitchability. That's a frontline starter. I'll hang a number two ceiling but it's a lot to get there because of the surgery.
Projected Draft Round
Easily considered a first rounder until the injury now a possible late first round or compensation round is likely. Unless there's new things that come up with signability, he shouldn't last past early second.
Will he sign?
The rumor is that he wants 1.5 million to sign. The 2-1 pick, which belongs to the Phillies, is worth $1,536,200. So, considering the slots above and his potential, it sounds like he will.
Luzardo had significant helium this spring, with his fastball sitting in the low 90s and touching as high as 97. Prior to this spring, the southpaw was known among the amateur scouting community for his excellent pitchability and offspeed stuff. His velocity increase had put him in first-round consideration.
Read more at http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/jesus-luzardo-undergoes-tommy-john-surgery/#jLQTZwhG2bFUt76e.99
A healthy Luzardo is likely the second best prep lefty in the class. Jason Groome is the clear number one in that category right now, but many scouts make the case that Luzardo is the most professional ready. We ranked him No. 19 in the high school class in our most recent high school draft rankings. And, what scouts have seen so far is that Luzardo’s fastball had picked up a tick or two in early outings in Florida. Entering the spring with a crisp fastball that plays up at 90-93 mph, Luzardo touched 94-95 mph in the outings prior to his injury. But, where a healthy Luzardo really stands out is with his advanced feel for an above average 80-82 mph changeup. This pitch has frequently flashed plus action. He also shows a 1-7 curveball around 76-78 mph, as well as an 80-82 mph slider that flashes above average potential. His ability to pitch inside to righties with his fastball stands out to scouts as well.