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Jesus Luzardo (SP, OAK) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 235

CURRENT ADP: ~255 overall

ANALYSIS: Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo has yet to pitch a big league inning, yet the 21-year-old is being as hyped up as any rookie starter coming into 2019. While hype can easily lead to disappointment, the young Peruvian has allowed just 43 earned runs in 152 2/3 minor league innings. He has also struck out 177, walked just 35, and has allowed 7.3 hits per nine innings as well. While there are a lot of reasons to like Luzardo, there needs to be a moment of pause considering that his ERA rose as he rose through the Athletics organization (he allowed 13 runs in 16 Triple-A innings).

A majority of Luzardo's 2018 season was spent at Double-A and his numbers from 2017 in Low-A and 2018 in Double-A look very similar. He had a 22.5% K-BB rate in Low-A in 2017 and 21.9% rate in Double-A last season, for one, and also had a 2.93 FIP in Low-A and 2.89 FIP in Double-A. This also came with Luzardo moving to a more offense-friendly Texas League and a noticeable step up in talent. When you take his High-A (54.2%) and Triple-A (50%) GB rates, it would not be a surprise if Luzardo has a K% in the mid-20s and a ground-ball rate in the high-40s in the big leagues. There is usually a strong correlation to run suppression and high GB/K rates, so Luzardo definitely is putting himself in a position to thrive on this account.

The value of his ADP of 255 will be determined by how strong of a Spring Training that Luzardo has. If he makes enough of an impact to make the big league team, he undoubtedly has the greatest upside of any A's pitcher heading into 2019 and could end up being a top-50 SP. Even if he does not make his MLB debut until the summer, he is still a player to monitor on the waiver wires or hold in a minor league slot.

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!