Are the Blue Jays doing a disservice to Elvis Luciano?
The Toronto Blue Jays selected a teenage pitcher due to a loophole in the Rule 5 draft, however, are they doing a disservice to Elvis Luciano and his development?
Elvis Luciano has struggled for much of spring training and has appeared overmatched when on the bump for the Blue Jays during Grapefruit League action thus far. The 19-year old took the loss yesterday without retiring a batter and now sports a 14.85 earned run average while surrendering 11 runs in eight appearances scattered over 6.2 innings.
The Blue Jays must keep him on their active roster for the entire 2019 campaign in order to regain team control for 2020 and beyond. If the Blue Jays brain trust opt to keep Luciano around, this handcuffs new skipper Charlie Montoyo to essential manage with a 24-man roster as Luciano will only be relied upon in mop-up type situations.
This tactic will also surely stunt the teenager’s development not pitching in meaningful innings throughout the season. Runs scored aside, Luciano has also been erratic often losing control of the strike zone issuing seven free passes this spring.
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If Luciano breaks camp with the team, Montoyo will likely opt for an 8-man bullpen which will also presumably seal the fate for outfielder Dalton Pompey and his tenure as a Blue Jay.
The young hurler tossed 67 innings last season in rookie ball and accumulated a 3.90 earned run average. If Luciano didn’t dominate Rookie ball, it is difficult to see him ever being MLB ready in 2019.
As much as the Blue Jays would like to keep Luciano in the fold and it seemed like a worthy experiment at the time. The right thing to do would be to offer him back to the Kansas City Royals and fill the roster spot with someone who can help contribute on the field, regardless if this is a rebuilding year or not.
Good on Ross Atkins and company for thinking outside the box but the time has come to close the book on the Luciano experiment and move on. You win some, you lose some.
It is not only a disservice to Luciano but also to the Jays fans who pay good money to see the best product on the field.