Marlins-Mets series showcases South Florida's baseball riches

May 19th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MIAMI -- This weekend’s series between the Marlins and the Mets at loanDepot park has showcased South Florida as a hotbed for baseball talent.

Five local high school products have been featured through the first two games: Marlins pitchers (Marjory Stoneman Douglas) and (Palm Beach Central), as well as Mets right-hander (Calvary Christian), infielder (American Heritage School) and designated hitter (Charles W. Flanagan).

The baseball world is a small one, so it’s not unusual for that group and others like former Marlins and White Sox No. 10 prospect Jake Eder (Calvary Christian), Orioles No. 3 prospect Coby Mayo (Marjory Stoneman Douglas), Reds infielder Jonathan India (American Heritage School) and White Sox right-hander Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian Academy) to cross paths and have mutual friends.

“You see so much talent down here,” said Luzardo, who tossed six scoreless innings in the Marlins’ 8-0 win on Friday. “It happens often, and it's weird. We're talking about a certain guy, and it's like, ‘I grew up with him.’ I played ball with Maldonado since I was like 11, 12, 13. We were on a team called the West Boca Panthers together. Me and Maldy played travel ball together, me and India played against each other and together at times. Touki, [too]. The list goes on and on of how many guys played with me or against me.”

Joining that list was Scott, who made his third big league start on Friday opposite Luzardo. Both he and Luzardo were taught by the same youth instructor, Bruce Charlebois. The president of South Florida Baseball School and head coach at Highlands Christian Academy in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Charlebois was in attendance for the series-opening duel.

Luzardo began training with Charlebois when he was 8 years old, but it wasn’t until a growth spurt around the 12-13 age range that Charlebois believed Luzardo and Scott could reach higher levels of baseball.

Charlebois described Luzardo as “quietly dangerous,” “slightly introverted” and “humble” on Friday’s Bally Sports Florida broadcast. Luzardo hasn’t changed, even still wearing his glasses and possessing electric stuff.

“Obviously very proud of both of them and what they've been able to accomplish,” Charlebois said. “Just watching Jesús repeat his delivery and continue to compete at a high level, being able to see Christian accomplish his goal so recently and being a part of it is absolutely amazing.”

Luzardo remembers showing up for his pitching and hitting sessions with Charlebois after India’s slot and before Scott’s. When Charlebois held arm strength programs in his warehouse, Luzardo would help out and spot Scott, who is two years younger.

“It was just cool to see,” Luzardo said. “He's a great kid and he's going to be really good, so just happy to see him out there. I remember going to Calvary Christian when he was there with Eder, so that's how I knew both of those guys. I never played with him, but I do remember him in high school, seeing him and just him growing up. I remember hearing his name a lot. He was really good, obviously.”

In the first head-to-head matchup, Luzardo got the better of Scott. While the Marlins recorded their third straight shutout, Scott permitted four runs in four frames.

“He threw the ball really well,” Scott said. “He's a great dude, too. He's a great pitcher, even better guy off the field. So [I] wish him nothing but the best. Really glad to see -- I know a lot of the work that he's put in. It's not easy to get to the position that he's at, so I thought he threw the ball really well and hope for his continued success for sure.”