954 Dialed In! Broward’s own Jesus Luzardo, Lewis Brinson represent

954 Dialed In! Broward’s own Jesus Luzardo, Lewis Brinson represent


By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd

Newly-acquired Miami Marlins left-hander Jesus Luzardo talked about coming home after picking up a 6-3 win over the New York Mets on Monday at loanDepot park.

It’s every kid’s dream to play for their hometown team, and Luzardo is the latest South Florida-raised player to wear the uniform of his favorite team growing up.

Words alone didn’t sum up what pitching at home means to Luzardo, the 23-year-old southpaw flaunted it on his glove. Stitched on the side is “954,” Broward County’s area code.

Monday turned into a huge South Florida baseball night for the Marlins.

Luzardo, who grew up in Parkland, threw five innings, allowing three runs with five strikeouts on his way to a victory. Left fielder Lewis Brinson, from Coral Springs, blasted an first-inning grand slam, and he finished the night with five RBIs and two runs scored.

“Being in front of a lot of family and friends, growing up watching this team, rooting for this team, just meant a lot,” Luzardo said postgame. “I know it meant a lot to my parents, meant a lot to me. I’m glad to be home.”

Luzardo and Brinson both are from Broward County. Toss in reliever Richard Bleier, who attended South Plantation High School, and you have three of Miami’s 26 players on the active roster all from Broward.

The wealth of baseball players from South Florida and the state of Florida is a primary reason ManOn2nd baseball was created. And these three are not established household names. They are part of a long list of players from the area and the Sunshine State.

For those new to the site, and the ManOn2nd podcasts, the mission of MO2 is to cover all-things baseball related to Florida. Since we’re based in Broward County, any baseball story with South Florida ties is in our wheelhouse.

Another MO2 hook from Monday is the fact the Mets have first baseman Pete Alonso, a Tampa native who attended the University of Florida. Luzardo struck out Alonso in the first inning, logging his first K as a Marlin. But Alonso got some payback with a homer in the third. Both players are on our radar.

Having covered the Marlins for two decades, I’ve repeatedly encouraged the organization to tap into the South Florida talent pool, when applicable. South Florida specifically and the state of Florida, generally, produces as much baseball talent as anywhere.

Broward County gained international attention as well on Monday with Triston Casas belting an opposite-field home run for Team USA at the Olympics. Casas, the Red Sox’s top prospect, played his prep ball at American Heritage in Plantation, and has the makings to be an impactful slugger.

I know. I know, the Marlins passed on Casas in the 2018 MLB Draft. That’s still a sore spot for me. But, hey, you move on. That’s the nature of drafts. You have your convictions and reasons, and Miami went with outfielder Connor Scott, a Tampa native.

Obviously, you take the best player, regardless of where they’re from. Still, for me, if it’s about 50/50 and you have a local player who understands this market and is comfortable in South Florida, I’m taking the local player.

As the Marlins aim to energize their fan base, they should take note of what occurred on Monday. You had two local players step up and take the spotlight. Now, that doesn’t change the long-term projection of either player. One game, good or bad, doesn’t define you. Still, it was a reminder that South Florida is filled with baseball talent.

If you want to encourage Broward County residents to cross the Miami-Dade County line and go to loanDepot park, having local players doesn’t hurt. Some of the fans in the park on Monday probably saw Luzardo and Brinson at the youth and high school levels. They may have been classmates with them.

If you need more evidence about local impact, look no further than last weekend when the New York Yankees were in town. Anthony Rizzo, also from Parkland, made his Yankees’ debut and almost single-handedly helped New York sweep three games. Rizzo had a big cheering section.

The San Diego Padres were in town not long ago, and they feature Broward’s Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado, from Miami.

In terms of Broward County alone, the Marlins do have three players with 954-ties at Double-A Pensacola, and another on the low-A Jupiter roster.

From Broward County at Pensacola are: left-hander Jake Eder (Calvary Christian Academy), outfielder Griffin Conine (Pine Crest High) and right-hander Jose Mesa Jr. (Flanagan High). Mesa Jr. is currently on the injured list.

Conine, the son of Marlins’ legend Jeff Conine, has shown big-time home run power and is gaining plenty of attention. Eder is arguably Miami’s top pitching prospect, right now, according to numerous ManOn2nd sources.

On a human-interest level, the low-A Jupiter Hammerheads have Zack Kone was a teammate of Conine at Pine Crest and Duke University.

Through MLB, there are standout players from South Florida. J.D. Martinez (Flanagan and Nova Southeastern University) is with the Boston Red Sox. Martinez has the distinction of hitting the first regular season MLB homer at loanDepot park. While with the Houston Astros on April 12, 2012, he went deep off Edward Mujica in the eighth inning.

Zack Collins (American Heritage in Plantation and the University of Miami) caught White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon’s no-hitter earlier this season.

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (American Heritage/Delray Beach and the University of Florida) just was named N.L. Rookie of the Month.

Nick Castellanos (Archbishop McCarthy), on the injured list with the Cincinnati Reds, has been one of the top hitters in the National League. Castellanos has been out with a right wrist microfracture, but is expected back soon.

When in the lineup, Castellanos is a difference maker.

For me, I also believe he would make a huge impact on the field and help boost the gate if he too came home to South Florida.

If Castellanos opts out of his four-year, $64 million contract in the offseason, he would be MO2’s top Marlins’ free agent target.

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