I have an honest question: Can the Jays trade Elvis Luciano for Travis Bergen and fix their Rule-5 fuck up for 2019? (If you don’t remember who Travis Bergen is, here’s the link to a piece I did on him last September.)
Now, I definitely don’t have to remind the prospect gushing Jays fans out there, who inject all the large adult son content into their veins, but let’s just look at Bergen’s numbers from Double-A for fun.
After being promoted to the Fisher Cats last year, he posted an ERA of 0.50 in 35.2 innings and had a strikeout to walk ratio of 43:9. And let’s not forget that he, ya know, punched in 20.2 innings of consecutive scoreless baseball, but whatever…no big deal.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 40
Bergen lacks overpowering stuff but hitters from both sides of the plate rarely manage to barrel his pitches. His low-90s fastball plays much better than its velocity because his crossfire delivery gives it run, sink and deception. His slider/cutter acts as a solid second pitch at times, and he also has a changeup to keep hitters off balance.
So, when the Jays didn’t protect Bergen this past November (before the Rule 5 draft), many large adult son fans questioned the front office. Now, it’s not usually an issue to leave a player exposed for the draft because if a team selects that player, they must carry him on the 25-man roster for the entire year, or they are offered back to the original team, which is what is happening with Jordan Romano, who the Jays also lost in this year’s draft:
— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) March 21, 2019
So there is a good chance that Romano might be coming back home, but Bergen, well – that’s a whole other eye-rolling story. There’s not a good chance of that happening. There’s a good chance that Farhan Zaidi, the President of Baseball Operations for the San Francisco Giants, picked Ross and companies pocket though.
Let’s take a look at how Bergen’s spring training with the Giants is going:
#SFGiants fall 3-0 to the Dbacks this afternoon. Rodriguez continues his impressive spring with only 1 run & 2 hits allowed in 4 2/3 innings. Travis Bergen retired all four batters he faced – now at 7 scoreless IP overall. SF held to three hits. Host Angels tomorrow.
— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) March 14, 2019
Rule 5 lefty Travis "He Is So On This Team" Bergen this spring: 6 G, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K. #SFGiants
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) March 14, 2019
And one more for the fun of it:
Eight shutout innings this spring now for Rule 5 lefty Travis "Get Him A Locker" Bergen. Struck out three in the inning. Also walked a guy. #SFGiants
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) March 18, 2019
So, I say howl away all you crazy sonofas because here’s how things have been working out this spring for Elvis Luciano – the Jays’ Rule-5 pick:
I'll admit I just don't see the same Elvis Luciano that the #BlueJays do. Sure, there's a lot to like about the arm. But at times he's totally erratic and it looks like he's in way over his head — as most 19-year-old's would.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) March 20, 2019
Remember how elated Ross Atkins was when they poached him from the Royals back in December. He was over the Hall and Oates moon about this young arm who – let me check my notes – hasn’t pitched higher than Rookie Ball with the Idaho Falls.
#BlueJays GM Ross Atkins on Elvis Luciano:
"Our hope is that he’s facing Aaron Judge and facing some of the better hitters in the game. What an incredible challenge that would be, and we’d love to see that happen."
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) December 13, 2018
Ross doesn’t see Vlad as Major League ready, but he thinks that 19-year-old Luciano should jump from Idaho all the way to the big leagues. I guess player development is different for different types of players or something. Nothing like pitching to a Yankees line up that murders baseballs. Good luck, kid.
Listen, I’m not shitting on Elvis Luciano because there is a lot to like about the young pitcher. Unfortunately, in order for the Jays to keep this prospect, he has to make the 25-man roster and stick for the year. That is not going to happen here. If he could spend this season in Lansing where he belongs and develop properly, I’d be writing a post about how excited we should be that Luciano is in the system. But, Luciano isn’t in the system and he won’t be for much longer.
Here’s what they are saying in Kansas City right now:
"It's getting harder and harder for the Blue Jays to make a case that Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano deserves a spot on the 25-man roster." https://t.co/RdSiEbfNz6
— Royals Review (@royalsreview) March 21, 2019
There have been a couple offseason decisions that the front office has made this year that have had me and other Jays fans scratching their heads. This whole Luciano-Bergen thing is definitely one of them.
It’s not like the Jays are going to be able to trade Pillar or Pompey for a pitching prospect as good as Bergen. It’s not like they got that much back for Josh Donaldson in the eleventh hour. I hope the Giants release Travis Bergen and he comes back to Toronto. But, it looks like the Giants have something special there. Something the Jays front office failed to see.