OAKLAND -- The A's Organizational Prospects of the Year feature a player that finished the season with the big league club and another that could start next season with the big league club.Ramon Laureano, who dazzled upon his August promotion, has been named Hitting Prospect of the Year, while Jesus
OAKLAND -- The A's Organizational Prospects of the Year feature a player that finished the season with the big league club and another that could start next season with the big league club.
Ramon Laureano, who dazzled upon his August promotion, has been named Hitting Prospect of the Year, while Jesus Luzardo was christened Pitching Prospect of the Year.
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Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Laureano wowed with his defensive work, and kept pace at the plate, too, hitting .288 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 48 games with the A's following his Aug. 3 callup. At the time, he was batting .297 with a .380 on-base percentage and 14 homers in 64 games for Triple-A Nashville -- even after missing several weeks as a result of a broken pinkie as Spring Training concluded.
The 24-year-old center fielder came to Oakland in an offseason trade from the Astros, an under-the-radar deal that had a significant impact on these A's, who also acquired Luzardo via trade.
Luzardo, who was part of the deal that sent relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington last summer, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the second-best pitching prospect in the game. He dominated opponents in 2018, no matter the level; Luzardo made the jump from Class A Advanced Stockton to Double-A Midland at the end of April, then zoomed to Nashville in August.
Now, the A's are eyeing him as a candidate for their own rotation when Spring Training opens.
"I think Jesús is going to come into Spring Training and be a factor," A's general manager David Forst said. "I don't think we have to hide that. He had an incredible year. He's our top prospect. He's probably one of, if not the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game. So I expect he'll come into Spring Training and be a factor for us."
Luzardo combined for a 2.88 ERA as a 20-year-old this year, compiling 129 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.