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A's rookie Luis Medina is showing why he belongs with the big club

The right-hander has already made two quality starts and is looking to get better.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Last August, the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics made a trade that sent Luis Medina, Cooper Bowman, JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk from New York to Oakland in exchange for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino. 

This year, Bowman is with Double-A Midland and Sears, Waldichuk and Medina all made starts for the A’s. Meanwhile, Trivino was lost to Tommy John surgery and Montas had shoulder surgery in February and there is still no definite timetable for his return.

It was clear after what happened with Montas that the A’s won that trade but when Trivino went down, it was made even more clear.

On Wednesday’s episode of Locked On A’s, host Jason Burke talked about how Medina has done so far in his first three starts of 2023 and how the young right-hander is showing he belongs in the Majors.

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When you look at his win-loss record and earned run average—0-3 and 6.88 in 17 innings pitched—you might wonder how anyone would think he's proving anything, but Burke said, “Granted, he’s not lighting the world on fire but he has produced two back-to-back quality starts.” The definition of a quality start is six innings and three or fewer earned runs and Medina posted six innings on May 11 and May 17 while only giving up three runs in each start. Unfortunately the A’s lost both games.

Medina’s first start was April 26 and he lasted five innings while giving up eight runs (seven earned) against the Angels.

He does have a bit of a home run problem — he gave up two in his first start and two in his last start—all three runs were off the longball and they were the only hits he surrendered— but he also had six strikeouts in both of those starts. Three of the home runs he’s given up this season were off his four-seam fastball and he gave up one each on his slider and his curveball.

Medina has a four-pitch arsenal, but he favors the four-seamer which averages around 95.5 MPH and can hit closer to 98. During his latest start, his fastball ranged from 91-97, putting it in the 80th percentile according to Baseball Savant.

Burke thinks it’s possible Medina could be dialing it back a bit right now in order to control the fastball and that you may see him throw harder once he gets a feel for being in the Majors.

After his start on Wednesday, manager Mark Kotsay said about Medina, “Medina did great. Overall, it was a quality start by every measure. He gave us a chance to win the game. He’s done it twice now in back-to-back starts.”

Medina said through his interpreter, “This isn’t the time to feel comfortable yet. I have to keep working hard to keep giving the best of myself.”

For the A’s, the important thing this season is to see which players can help them in 2023 and beyond, and right now it looks like Luis Medina is one of those players.

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