The Toronto Blue Jays have decided to keep Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano on the opening day history while making history in the process.
Considering the amount of uncertainty the team has gone through with injuries to relievers like John Axford and Ryan Tepera, it isn’t as surprising to see the 19-year-old make the MLB. Regardless, it is still a special accomplishment.
The team hasn’t been overly cautious with Luciano in spring training and threw him at Christian Yelich in the second exhibition game in Montreal. Luciano got the 2018 NL MVP to strike out and in a way, it helped him earn a chance for an extended look on the opening day roster.
“I didn’t think that it was my time,” Luciano told Julia Kreuz of Baseball Toronto. “When I got the news, and they said ‘we picked you in the Rule 5 and you’re going to play in the big leagues,’ I was surprised.
“But at the same time, I was happy, you know?”
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What will hold him back from reaching his potential at the start of his big league career is his lack of experience. The young Dominican was pitching in rookie ball last season so he doesn’t have a lot of innings pitching against the best hitters in the MLB.
Any young player will be excited to get to the majors right away but sometimes the moment can get to them and hopefully this doesn’t happen to the Blue Jays. Luckily for them, they have prior experience with Joe Biagini who was another Rule 5 pick to stick in Toronto.
The Blue Jays can try to retain Luciano’s rights from the Royals by trading for them and send him to the minors but for now, they will take their chance in keeping him.
It will be interesting to see how Charlie Montoyo will use Luciano and his fastball which can top out at 95- 96 MPH. He won’t be asked to pitch in high leverage situations like Roberto Osuna did when he made the Blue Jays at 20-years-old but they aren’t in a position to just shelter him completely.
Fans will be counting down the days before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. makes his MLB debut but for now, they will get Elvis Luciano, a pitcher who didn’t expect to get the call this soon but will make the most of the opportunity.
What do you think about Luciano sticking with the Blue Jays? Do you think he is ready to pitch in the MLB? Let us know in the comments below.