Luis Rujano – Pic via his Instagram

It’s no secret that I’ve come to love Luis Rujano. The young 20-year-old right hander moved into a starting pitching role in Myrtle Beach where he gets about three innings an outing. It’s gotten to the point that I am now making movies of his appearances because he is striking out a lot of bats.

I first wrote about Rujano last summer after the Cubs took him in the 2022 MLB draft. Here’s what I said back then of his future skills.

What I like most about Rujano, aside from his fastball, is that he is projectable. He’s a big kid with a big frame that can add some weight and he wants to be a Cub. He could’ve easily gone to South Florida  and developed there. But he chose to go pro as the Cubs swayed him with a little extra cash.

Like many starting pitchers, they don’t normally pitch the same year they get drafted as they’ve already pitched a full season in the spring. It’s hard to get them ramped up and ready to pitch if they haven’t been pitching for six weeks for high school kids.

So, Rujano made his debut this year.

That doesn’t surprise anyone, but I was expecting him to debut in Mesa in the Arizona Complex League and not in Myrtle Beach. When the Cubs called him up in May, I was quite surprised. He had been in extended spring training and still had a few weeks to go there.

It’s a huge jump to go from high school baseball to Low-A Myrtle Beach. And Rujano struggled some in the first month in the Carolina League. He pitched in four games in May and had a 6.75 ERA. He only threw 6.2 innings that month but he did strike out 10 batters. Then again, opponents hit .286 off of him and he walked three.

But when you break it down by games, it’s easier to see the promise.

In his first appearance, he did not allow any runs. The second time he pitched, he got touched up for four runs in two innings. His third appearance resulted in zero runs again and his last appearance, he gave up one run.

When you watch video, you can clearly see that there’s something there. There’s an ability to spot a mid 90s fastball and he had developing secondary pitches. How soon could he put those two things together to become a better pitcher?

Well, in June, his figured some things out.

At the time I wrote this post, he had appeared in five games that month and had thrown 13.2 innings. Most impressively, his ERA was a stellar 1.32. Rujano had struck out 14 and most impressively, opponents only hit .136 off of him heading into his last appearance.

I distinctly remember sitting down on a Sunday afternoon just to watch his three innings of work. I could not have been more impressed. There’s some wildness to him, but it’s not overtly wild. He seems to put a fastball where he wants it in the zone and it’s a matter of putting his slider and changeup in the zone.

Let’s go to the video.

As you can see, there’s a lot of things going on there that are very likable.

Now that he is in the rotation, I’d like to see what he could do over more innings.