The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #23 spot goes to the Blue Jays recent Rule 5 selection Elvis Luciano.
Elvis Luciano was the Toronto Blue Jays surprise selection in the Rule 5 draft, the 18-year old pitcher was made available due to a contract loophole and the rebuilding Jays opted to select the young hurler from the Kansas City Royals.
Name: Elvis Luciano
Position: P Age: 18
Height: 6’2 Weight: 184 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: International free agent signing of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016
The stipulation is that Luciano must remain on the Blue Jays 25-man roster for the entire 2019 campaign. If the Blue Jays are successful in keeping the youngster on the roster for the duration of the season, they will then reacquire his options and could conceivably reassign him back to the minors in 2020 if need be.
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Luciano has yet to pitch above Rookie ball going 5-5 with a 3.90 earned run average while fanning 70 in 67 innings of work last season between Idaho Falls and Burlington. In 29 career games over two minor league seasons, Luciano is 9-6 with a 3.37 earned run average with an 8.2 SO/9 rate and a 0.4 HR/9 clip.
General Manager Ross Atkins had this to say about Luciano following the selection:
"“Elvis is an exciting young arm that we’ve done a lot of work on and feel that any time you can acquire someone who has the chance to be a Major League starting pitcher, or a significant chance to be that, based on our projections, based on our scout looks, the work that we did on him, these types of attributes are hard to acquire. The age, there are pluses and minuses to that. The pluses are the upside, the very high ceiling. The minuses are the risk and the unknown in how little he has pitched.”"
Luciano possesses an easy, smooth delivery with a fastball that sits in the low to mid-nineties. The 18-year old has good sink on his fastball while inducing ground balls at a 52.45% clip in 2018. His off-speed offerings are still a work in progress but Luciano has the repertoire to remain as a starter.
In his 13 appearances last year, Luciano yielded two runs or less in nine of those starts including three shutout appearances. Luciano allowed four runs while striking out 38 in his final six starts of the 2018 campaign.
The 18-year old was tabbed the 28th best prospect in the Blue Jays organization by MLB. com, however, the youngster received a little more love from the Jays Journal staff coming in at 23rd on the sites rankings.
Time will tell if the 18-year old can stick with the big club, but it is a high-upside gamble for the Blue Jays in a season that in all likelihood won’t mean a whole lot in the standings.