Jesus Luzardo Has All Eyes on Him at A's Camp With ‘off-the-charts Talent'

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's were looking at any kind of starting pitching help they could get last September.  

The thought of calling up Jesus Luzardo, who began 2018 at Single-A Stockton, was even a far-fetched consideration.

"Could he have helped us?," A's manager Bob Melvin rhetorically asked. "Probably. But he's really important to our future."

By the point MLB rosters expanded to 40 in September, Luzardo had already thrown 109 minor-league innings across three levels, including Triple-A.  

And that was just the physical toll. There also was a mental side to consider.

"If you fail, your first year, you have some confidence issues going forward," Melvin said.

Which brings us to the present. Luzardo is a focal point in big league camp, and there are seemingly some rotation spots for the taking.  

Every time he takes the hill, whether in bullpen sessions, live batting practice, or spring training exhibition -- the chatter among teammates and coaches noticeably dissipates. The A's are paying tons of attention to see what he's all about. 

"Off-the-charts talent," Melvin said. "Mid- to upper-90s fastball. Wipeout slider. Great changeup. Can throw his off-speed stuff in off counts. It's pretty special."

[RELATED: Jesús Luzardo leads list of Top 30 prospects in A's organization]

But as for how, when and where the smooth-throwing southpaw will be used -- everything will be taken into consideration to make sure Luzardo is established on a platform for success.

"We're not going to try and spoon-feed him," Melvin said. "We think he's ready."

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