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Puk, Luzardo among top 10 LHP prospects

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- As part of a renewed effort to restock their farm system, the A's have reeled in several hotshot prospects through a series of trades in recent years, albeit at the cost of a few fan favorites.

One such deal unfolded last July, when the A's shipped veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals in a trade that brought them three players: right-hander Blake Treinen, infielder Sheldon Neuse, and headliner Jesus Luzardo.

OAKLAND -- As part of a renewed effort to restock their farm system, the A's have reeled in several hotshot prospects through a series of trades in recent years, albeit at the cost of a few fan favorites.

One such deal unfolded last July, when the A's shipped veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals in a trade that brought them three players: right-hander Blake Treinen, infielder Sheldon Neuse, and headliner Jesus Luzardo.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Luzardo, just 20 years old, has been selected, along with A's 2016 first-round Draft pick A.J. Puk, as one of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects by MLB Pipeline. Puk is ranked second, only behind San Diego's MacKenzie Gore, while Luzardo came in at No. 8.

Though Luzardo has yet to even pitch at the Class A level, he brings an exciting level of potential to an A's organization that's suddenly brimming with young talent. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2016, Luzardo made his professional debut last June and managed 48 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings while posting a tidy 1.66 ERA.

All the while, Puk was impressing enough on the Class A Advanced Stockton stage to warrant a promotion to Double-A, where he compiled a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts.

Luzardo is expected to jump a level this year, as he continues his chase to the big league stage. Should he make it, he would be the first MLB player born in Peru. The pitcher was raised in Florida, considered first-round talent as a high schooler until an elbow injury dropped his stock. Washington selected him in the third round in 2016.

Puk went sixth overall in the same Draft class, marking the A's highest pick since they took another lefty, Mark Mulder, with their second selection in 1998. Puk, who will be back in big league camp this year, split the 2017 season between Class-A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2017, combining to go 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA.

Puk averaged more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and yielded just three home runs in 125 innings of work. He was the A's lone representative at the All-Star Futures Game in Miami.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

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