One of the elite prospects for the 2016 MLB draft, Jesus Luzardo, has an injured UCL that likely will require surgery. Frankie Piliere has the breakdown.

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Piliere: Miami Commit Luzardo Injures UCL

One of the elite high school pitching prospects in the nation, Jesus Luzardo (Parkland, Fla.) has been sidelined with a UCL injury, and an MRI shows that the ligament likely has a tear. If this is confirmed by Dr. James Andrews in an upcoming appointment where he will seek a second opinion, Luzardo will likely undergo Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-1, 205 pound lefthander was already one of the very best prep arms in the class, and was building even further momentum in early outings this spring in front of scouts.

Miami Florida logoLuzardo, a prized Miami commit, was likely headed for a first round draft selection this June. As history shows us, however, that could still very well be the case. Although he’s not a college arm with a lengthy track record to fall back on like Jeff Hoffman, Luzardo does have a long history with scouts on the showcase and tournament circuit. And, his highly advanced pitchability and success against elite competition will help his cause in maintaining his first round draft status.

A healthy Luzardo is likely the second best prep lefty in the class. Jason Groome is the clear number one in that category right now, but many scouts make the case that Luzardo is the most professional ready. We ranked him No. 19 in the high school class in our most recent high school draft rankings. And, what scouts have seen so far is that Luzardo’s fastball had picked up a tick or two in early outings in Florida. Entering the spring with a crisp fastball that plays up at 90-93 mph, Luzardo touched 94-95 mph in the outings prior to his injury. But, where a healthy Luzardo really stands out is with his advanced feel for an above average 80-82 mph changeup. This pitch has frequently flashed plus action. He also shows a 1-7 curveball around 76-78 mph, as well as an 80-82 mph slider that flashes above average potential. His ability to pitch inside to righties with his fastball stands out to scouts as well.

The injury clearly complicates the early draft picture, but if Luzardo does indeed have Tommy John surgery, and all goes well, it doesn’t seem all that likely that it will end those first round draft hopes. Scouts saw him shine at a number of events last summer, and these early spring outings have further cemented a deep, glowing high school resume. It certainly does increase Miami hopes that he could end up on campus, but with the routine nature of draft prospects now having Tommy John surgery, it’s not likely to have more than a slight impact on his status. Luzardo repeats his delivery, has a high pitching IQ, and commands three pitches as consistently or better than any prep pitcher in the class. Scouts and teams should remain very comfortable spending an early draft pick on him.

We will continue to follow this story as more information is available on Luzardo’s progress.

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