Recruiting Q&A With 2016 LHP Jesus Luzardo



By Rob Sidwell
Florida Scouting Director

Jesus Luzardo is a 2016 LHP from Douglas HS who recently became another elite prospect in the South Florida area that has verbally committed to Miami. Jim Morris and his staff have been very busy landing the top players in that area and they don't have to roam too far from home. Luzardo is a 6-foot, 200-pound lefty with a thick strong lower half and a mature body. Here's a look at our scouting report on Luzardo:

Loose quick arm at a high 3/4 slot with some downward tilt to his fastball at 86-91 mph. Good rhythm and balance in delivery. Stays over the rubber. Hides ball in back. Change up is an above average secondary pitch with good arm speed at 76-77 mph. Has good fade to it. Curveball has 3/4 tilt with good depth and was a swing and miss pitch to left handed hitters at 72-73 mph. Slider was a shorter 3/4 curve ball with more velocity at 78-79 mph. Polished pitcher with good stuff and threw a lot of strikes. Good student. Could become a 2016 draft.

Recently Jesus told us how he came to his decision to play at the next level with the University of Miami.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Jesus: I was expecting the process to challenging: conversations with coaches, weighting all aspects for a decision, and it was but in a great way. At the end, I’m thankful and blessed that some great schools and baseball programs were interested in my joining them and that make the process easier but more difficult in terms of choosing the program that I believe was a better fit for me and were I can contribute the most.

I’m also thankful to have around me people I trust as my high school coaches, summer team coaches, my pitching instructor and my parents that provided valuable advice to help me make a decision, and this made the process a little easier.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Jesus: A competitive baseball program where I have the opportunity to demonstrate that I can contribute as starting pitcher since my freshman year and compete at the highest level, along with an academic degree from an academically recognized college.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Jesus: To some extent it did; since I have a college program that fits the criteria of what I was looking for close to home, it weighted on my decision vs other competitive programs.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Jesus: I feel it really started in the summer of 2013 (between my Freshman and Sophomore years in High School). I think the game that turned the corner was a game vs. Richmond Braves in City of Palms, Ft Myers during a tournament in the fall of 2013.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Jesus: In the game vs. Richmond Braves in the fall of 2013. I verbally committed to another college at the end of 2013 (I believe it’s a great program but at the same time I committed too young, too early and I owed to myself to explore other opportunities that offer as well a competitive baseball program that I can contribute to, and good academics as well, among other things) so when I recently de-committed, Miami and other colleges approached me, and I then I learned that they have been tracking and watching me pitched since that fall. Even though, I only spent few weeks evaluating other colleges and talking to coaches, I feel I like the coaching staff in Miami communicate with players, manage the game and develop players.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Jesus: Very competitive Baseball program playing at a high level (ACC), great baseball tradition and history (4 CWS titles), great chemistry with the coaching staff (including the Pitching coach), I like the pitching philosophy of Coach Arteaga (pitching coach), possibility to play with friends that I have been playing with since I was 10, respected institution from the academic point of view and proximity to home so my family can watch our home games.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Jesus: Florida, North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Vanderbilt, Ole Miss (Mississippi)

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Jesus: Brandon Diaz; great hitter that covers all parts of the plate. Tough to get out.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Jesus: Probably during my freshman year in High School, based on feedback from my coaches and the fact that I managed to compete at high school level as a freshman starter in a tough baseball region at high school level (South Florida)

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Jesus: Have ambitions to play at the highest level but stay humble in the process. It is a daily grind and really what separates you from others is what you do when nobody is watching, staying focused on and off the field not getting into trouble, and good things will happen for you. You can’t control many things out there and what God has planned for you in Life, but you need to prepare yourself to compete when the opportunity is in front of you.

Also, if you are fortunate and blessed to be recruited by College programs, take your time to evaluate your options and make a decision when you feel you are ready; don’t rush it, you don’t need to verbally commit as a freshman or sophomore, but when you are sure on what you want to do in college and what is important for you, and not everyone is ready for that at a very young age.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Jesus: Winning the BCS Championship summer 2014

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Jesus: I love this year; At Marjory Stoneman Douglas I believe we have a real good chance this year to make a run for the State Championship (we came up short last year losing at the Regional Final). We have a good balance of experience, and young talent. Most of our pitching staff has 2 or more years of Varsity baseball, and our lineup is solid with good bats and this year we added more speed to the lineup! Looking forward to take the District title 3rd year in a row and make a run for the state title.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Jesus: During the summer I play for the Elite Squad Baseball (last summer in the 16U Prime team and this coming summer for the 17U Prime team). The most memorable moment could be when we won the 16U BCS Finals and got our rings! Great teamwork and achievement….we are more like brothers instead of teammates which in my opinion is why we are successful on the field.

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