13
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This Elvis Luciano pick is kind of intriguing

The Blue Jays have selected Royals’ RHP Elvis Luciano with the tenth pick of this afternoon’s Rule 5 Draft.

It’s a bit of a head scratcher. Luciano is only 18, and the highest level he’s played in his career thus far is rookie ball. This season, he threw just 67 innings with a 4.16 ERA, striking out 70 and walking 23.

All of this would be fine and well if he was just placed into the Blue Jays system, but because he was acquired via the Rule 5 draft, the Blue Jays have to keep him on the major league roster all season. We saw that with Joe Biagini in 2016, who successfully made the jump from double-A to the show. The major difference between those two pitchers is that Biagini was 26 in the 2016 season and Luciano wouldn’t be able to buy himself a beer in most road games he doesn’t pitch in.

There’s definitely upside in Luciano, but there’s also a ton of potential for shit to go terribly wrong for a guy that young and inexperienced. It would also be incredibly unfair to keep an 18-year-old up with the team just to avoid losing him, stunting his growth in the process. Who knows, maybe they had their eye on him and/or only made this pick to gain leverage in a trade…OR they could work out a trade at a later date. Baseball hot stove! Weeeeeee!

Ross Atkins has since said that he thinks Luciano can stick out of Jays camp, but he also said this about Troy Tulowitzki. So uh, I guess we’ll find out!

At the very least, it would be kind of intriguing to see what he can do out of the pen. He has a 55-grade curveball according to both the MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs earlier this year, and he throws in the mid-90s starting games. Him potentially getting a few ticks on his fastball and working an above-average curve in short spurts could be fun.

Or, I don’t know, maybe Judge hits a ball off of him so high and far that Luciano is back in the Royals system before it lands.

In other Rule 5 news, the Blue Jays have lost RHP Jordan Romano to the White Sox and LHP Travis Bergen to the Giants. The 25-year-old Romano has come a long way since Tommy John surgery in 2015 and has been steadily climbing through the organization, showing flashes of brilliance at times. He was a darkhorse to be a part of that 2019 rotation. Bergen, on the other hand, was a pretty good reliever for the Dunedin Blue Jays, and then the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season. The 24-year-old posted a 0.95 ERA with a tidy 4.95 K/BB ratio.

The team next year is going to be young, but I don’t think you can fret too much about losing those guys. The team has a pretty deep prospect pool, with a lot of them falling in the Bergen and Romano range. You can’t really say they’re MLB ready, but there’s no harm in taking a flier on them.

  • El Cabeza

    Does this make sense to anyone? Why would they not protect a 24 year old with a 0.95 ERA with a tidy 4.95 K/BB ratio in AA, and then pick up an 18 year old rookie baller who isn’t a top prospect!? I’m hoping someone is capable of explaining this one to me.

      • El Cabeza

        Okay, but Mark Leiter Jr. is also a reliever and was protected. Do you think he has more upside than Bergen? What about Solarte – they kept him on the 40 man and then non-tendered him. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad he’s gone, but what was the point of keeping him on the roster in place of Bergen or Romano?

          • El Cabeza

            Good point. But if Bergen isn’t worthy of the 40 man roster as a 24 year old, then losing him on waivers is fine. I mean – he was a complete boss in AA. Don’t you want to at least see if he can do the same in AAA in 2019? The potential cost of this experiment is Jangervis Solarte who they got rid of anyway, Tulo who they got rid of anyway, MLJ who has consistently sucked everywhere and will be 28 before the season starts. In the grand scheme of things this probably isn’t a big deal at all, but I just don’t understand the point of taking the risk of losing these guys with nothing absolutely nothing to lose by protecting them.

        • Warren

          Why did we keep Tulo on the 40 man, then release him, losing the opportunity to place Bergen or Romano on the roster? It makes no sense. Did Atkins lose his temper with Tulo?

        • Richard Lee-Sam

          Agreed on all counts. It’s intriguing, but there’s a decent to good chance he gets rocked a lot. I’d want to see a trade so he can go into the system.

  • AD

    They are def flipping elvis to another team, makes no sense to keep an 18 yr old on mlb roster. He is not a hot shot prospect. Also, keeping leiter over romano is a major head scracther. Not impressed with this FO

    • The Humungus

      They keep Leiter over Romano for 2 reasons:

      1. He’s expendable, so they can shuffle him off the 40 man and not care if he gets picked up or they have to release him.

      2. If you put someone on the 40 man, you’re burning an option year. Romano is at least a year away from the bigs, barring a giant leap forward, so why burn the option year for a guy who profiles as a 5/6 starter at best? You’re going to want those options when he reaches that point so you can bring him up and down to spot start or fill in for injury.

      Chances are the White Sox won’t keep him. He doesn’t really have a reliever profile, stuff-wise, and he’s at best #6 on their depth chart.