A’s prospect update: Fowler promoted, Luzardo dominating in Double-A

Oakland Athletics’ top outfield prospect Dustin Fowler had already made his big league debut. He started a game for the New York Yankees last June — a game in which he injured his knee and was rendered out for the season before even getting his first big league at-bat. He was later traded at the MLB trade deadline to the A’s, as part of a package of prospects, for starting pitcher Sonny Gray.

Fowler was called up on Tuesday to replace starting pitcher Trevor Cahill, who was put on the 10-day disabled list as a precaution after feeling irritation in his elbow during his last start, on the roster. Fowler had been slated as the likely Opening Day starter in center field for Oakland but after missing all of last season he had a slow spring at the plate and a similarly slow start to the season in Triple-A with the Nashville Sounds.

By the last week of April, however, Fowler began to find his stride. Having gone through his first 16 games with just  50 wRC+ and no extra base hits, he got three hits on April 23 and has since seemed unstoppable. In his 14 games with Nashville since he improved his batting line to .310/.333/.348 and improved from 50 wRC+ to 108 wRC+.  With an open roster spot, at least for the next ten days, the A’s decided it was time to see what Fowler could do in the majors.

While not in the lineup on Wednesday, Fowler did end up finally getting that first big league at-bat. He made his debut for the A’s in the seventh inning, pinch-hitting for center fielder Mark Canha. He grounded out on the second pitch he saw from Houston Astros reliever Will Harris. Yet, by the way Fowler figured out Triple-A level pitching after having not seen live pitching for almost a year, it’s possible that the prospect the A’s have called their “center fielder of the future,” may be here to stay.

Fowler is scheduled to be in the A’s lineup on Friday when the A’s take on the Yankees and in an interesting twist he’ll be facing off against Gray, the pitcher he was traded for.

“It’s just the perfect story,” Fowler said. “The guy I got traded for, getting to face him. It’ll be nice to be in New York and play in front of that crowd. It’ll be exciting. I’m ready to get there.”

Meanwhile the first member of the Athletics High-A affiliate Stockton Ports promoted to the Double-A Midland Rockhounds and the A’s number two overall prospect, left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo, has been the most dominant member of the Rockhounds’ pitching staff.

Luzardo was promoted faster than any other prospect during the Beane Era. After just three starts at Stockton where he put up a 1.23 ERA and had 25 strikeouts in just 14.2 innings of work, the 20-year-old was moved to Midland.

In three starts with the Rockhounds, Luzardo is already an upgrade to their middle of the road starting pitching staff. He has made three starts and while he’s not as dominant as he was against the High-A hitters, he is still doing very well.  He has a 3.00 ERA with 19 Ks and just 3 BB, in 15 IP.

Luzardo is definitely one to keep your eye on. He was rated at number 36 on the most recent top 100 prospects list by MLB Pipline.

Featured image of Dustin Fowler – via Bryan Green on Flickr

About Jen Rainwater 5 Articles
Front Page Writer at Athletics Nation. Oakland A's Writer at Prospects1500. Associate Site Manager at MLB.com. Avid MLB fan and (obvious) Oakland A's fanatic. Original "Oakland A's Socks Girl." Cowboys fan. Dubs fan. Cancer. Liberal. Animal lover but definite cat person. Follow Jen on Twitter at @Baseball_Jen.

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