Can one fantasy baseball sleeper post for Jesus Luzardo double as a fantasy baseball sleeper post for the entire Marlins’ pitching staff? Here we discuss just that, and give you usable tips on turning holiday leftovers into something the whole family can enjoy! Welcome back to The Chew! What’s that? The Chew was cancelled? Was Mario Batali canceled and took The Chew down with him or a separate set of canceling circumstances? By the by, you know you’ve done some real grimey shizz when you get canceled after getting famous while wearing Crocs. Jumping the hurdle of “wearing Crocs” needs so much forgiveness as it is, then you still ruined your career? Oh, you messed up really bad then. Any hoo! This isn’t about Crocs (thankfully), this is about all the incredible pitching the Marlins produces every year. No joke, I almost did an Edward Cabrera sleeper, and they’re kinda the same diff. They’ll both be 25 this year; they’ve both been in the minors so long the bell hop at the Motel 6 knows them by their first names; they’ll both be aces, and would already be an impact arm in the majors if not for a very spotty injury history; both might be lucky to throw 140 IPs this year; semicolons are fun. The case for Edward Cabrera is he’s slightly cheaper in drafts, but he’s much riskier, due to most recent injuries, and Jesus Luzardo just has more service time under his belt. No lie, this post was originally “Edward Cabrera, 2023 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper,” but by the end of writing the third line, I made the switch, and I’m glad I did, because Jesus Luzardo might be more expensive (barely, still a bargain for the sleeperiness), he’s just a bit safer. In the end, it’s prolly gonna come down to grabbing Luzardo as a number three or four with upside vs. Edward Cabrera as a five or six with upside, and I’d draft both. If they both had 200+ innings in the majors under their belt, and were both guaranteed 160 IP, I’d go Edward Cabrera, but that’s not the case. So, what can we expect from Jesus Luzardo for 2023 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Psyche! Before we get into the Jesus Luzardo sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2023 fantasy baseball rankings on our patreon. Lucky you (if you pay the $10/month). Also, Rudy’s begun to roll out his 2023 fantasy baseball projections. It’s version 1.0 and there’s usually about 4500 versions but he just wanted to let you know. Anyway II, the Jesus Luzardo sleeper:
Jesus Luzardo struck out 12 hitters in his 1st start of the year, and in his last start. Baseball is like a cloud in the sky where you can see anything in it. Did I just dazzle you with words? Aw, shucks! All the starts between Jesus Luzardo’s first and last start weren’t as good. Okay, they weren’t bad either: 100 1/3 IP, 10.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 3.11 xFIP, 3.32 ERA, and only a 6.6% barrel rate. Everyone thought he was an ace; he begins to pitch like an ace; he’s still being drafted around 160 overall. Yeah, I have no idea either. He makes most of this happen with a 96 MPH fastball and a devastating 87 MPH change that is only surpassed by a ridiculous 84 MPH slider. That change really makes daddy’s jaw drop so I’m able to type this with the drool hanging from my mouttr–damn, mouth! So close!
Jesus Luzardo only threw the change 22.6% of the time, but induced a .190 BAA. What’s kinda interesting in the most infuriating way possible: We still can’t get all baseball sites on the same page when qualifying pitches (or batted ball data for hitters). Statcast says Luzardo threw a curve 30.1% of the time and induced a .157 batting average against, making it his best pitch, but FanGraphs calls that a slider. It looks to me like a slider. So, point for FanGraphs, but why we ca n’t all agree on all of these little nonsense things that makes Gray motion with his finger di lui next to his ear di lui like he’s going crazy? We all a bunch of Jiminy Glicks trying to process information, or what? We are? OK, cool.
Jesus Luzardo’s last year in Oakland saw a command issue, and a walk rate of 4.5+. First year in Miami’s Triple-A saw 4.2. This past year with the Marlins? 3.1. His early minors years showed this pattern. He’d get to a new level, lose the strike zone a bit, only to regain in a major way, constantly putting up walk rates of 2.3-ish. He is figuring it out, it’s just taking a while. Like what you tell your mom when she asks you when you’re moving out of the basement — We’re all on different schedules, and you can’t rush perfection.
When you want to know what you’re really dealing with or who’s really dealing, as the case is here, look at how much contact is being made. For pitchers with 100 IP (not a ton, so there’s some great pitchers in this list), the 7th best contact in baseball or rather 7th hardest pitcher to make contact with, it’s Jesus Luzardo. The top six has mostly the best of the best: Burnes, Cease, McClanahanananananan, Strider, Snell, and Ohtani. Right after Luzardo on that list is Gerrit Cole. Incredibly, when you look at that list, and match it against a list of guys who are in the strike zone, Luzardo is 4th best, behind only Ohtani, Strider and McClanahanananananan. Luzardo is better at being in the strike zone than Gerrit Cole with less contact being made. Not sure what else to tell you after that. If that doesn’t have you wanting Jesus in every league, I’m guessing you’re an atheist. For 2023, I’ll give Jesus Luzardo projections of 8-9/3.21/1.06/164 in 142 IPs with a chance for much more.