The calendar still reads early March, but A's No. 1 prospect Jesus Luzardo appeared to be in mid-season form Saturday as he cruised through 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners.
Luzardo, who has pitched to a 1.08 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings this spring, gave up an RBI double in the second, but then struck out a pair to finish the frame and ultimately retired the final six batters he faced. The No. 12 overall prospect struck out eight of the 13 batters he faced and gave up one run on two hits.
Here's how other top prospects performed on Saturday:
Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays No. 1, MLB No. 8
There's a reason Pearson is so highly regarded as a prospect and he's been showing it so far this spring. The 23-year-old spun two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and struck out a trio of Red Sox hitters in the process. Pearson didn't give up any hits, but he did issue a pair of walks. It's certainly been an impressive spring for the 2017 first-round Draft pick, who is coming off a 2019 campaign during which he struck out 119 batters and posted a 2.30 ERA over 101 2/3 innings. Pearson has thrown five scoreless innings and struck out nine without surrendering a hit.
Joe Ryan, RHP, Rays No. 8
Ryan put together a strong performance against the Braves, cruising through three scoreless innings and racking up five strikeouts. The 23-year-old, a seventh-round pick from the 2018 Draft, retired nine of the 11 batters he faced, yielding just a pair of singles. Ryan also notched a pair of strikeouts in both the second and third innings. Ryan completed his first full season in 2019 and posted a 1.96 ERA over three levels and struck out 183 batters over 123 2/3 innings.
Kevin Cron, 1B, D-backs No. 26
Cron turned in his best performance of Spring Training, going 3-for-4 with a homer, double and two RBIs. Cron, who made his MLB debut in May 2019 and hit .211 with six homers in 39 games, entered the day 3-for-20 in spring, but wasted little time getting on track. The 27-year-old crushed a two-run homer in the first, singled in the third and then followed that up with a double in the fifth.
Brandon Lockridge, OF, Yankees No. 26
Lockridge isn't getting a ton of reps during Spring Training, but he's certainly making the most of the opportunities he does receive. The 2018 fifth-round pick has appeared in six games and is 3-for-7 (.429) at the plate. Lockridge got two at-bats against the Pirates and used the first of them to give his club the lead, while picking up his first three RBIs in the process.
Edmundo Sosa, INF, Cardinals No. 20
Sosa hit a career-high 17 homers last season with Triple-A Memphis and has brought that power stroke with him to Spring Training, where he's gone deep twice in 27 at-bats. The 24-year-old had just one at-bat against the Astros, but that was all he needed to make an imprint on the game as he drove a pitch the other way for a solo homer.
Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros No. 1; Brandon Bielak, RHP, No. 12; and Blake Taylor, LHP, No. 27
A trio of Astros prospects combined to strike out eight and give up one run over four innings in a loss to the Cardinals. Whitley, the highest-rated of the trio, struck out two of the four batters he faced in a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
Bielak got the start for the Astros and although he gave up a run and was stuck with the loss, the 23-year-old did strike out three in two innings. He didn't give up a hit, but he walked two, one of which came around to score. Taylor took over for Bielak and may have been the most impressive of the trio. The 24-year-old, whom the Astros acquired from the Mets in December, gave up a single to Paul Goldschmidt, but otherwise struck out the side in his lone inning on the mound.
Sterling Sharp, RHP, Marlins No. 28
Sharp, whom the Marlins grabbed in December's Rule 5 Draft, was lights out for three innings against the Nationals. Sharp retired seven of the final eight batters he faced to conclude an outing during which he struck out five and gave up one hit over three scoreless innings. The 24-year-old has pitched to a 1.29 ERA in Spring Training and after posting a 3.99 ERA through nine starts last year at the Double-A level.
Jonathan India, 3B, Reds No. 4
India, who is looking to bounce back from a rough 2019 season, was perfect at the plate in Cincinnati's win over the Cubs. The 23-year-old hit his first homer of Spring Training -- a two-run blast in the sixth inning -- then added a double and single to finish 3-for-3.