On this edition of the Pirates prospect update series, we take a look at pitcher Luis Ortiz as he looks to build off of a dominant performance on Labor Day against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Going into Spring Training Camp, I believed that Ortiz could become a regular part of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ rotation. Following injuries and inconsistent play, Ortiz would be called up to make his season debut against Colorado in early May. It could not have gone worst, as the Pirates lost 10-1 with Ortiz being pulled after five innings in which he allowed seven hits, one homer, and five runs were scored.
He would pickup his first win against the Texas Rangers in May, and continue his streak of on and off performances before being optioned back down to triple-a Indianapolis.
Now in the dog days of the season, Ortiz is once again play big league ball in Pittsburgh, picking up wins against Kansas City and Milwaukee to improve to a season 4-4 record. In his last two outings, Ortiz has allowed just three runs, notching five strikeouts against the Royals and another four against the Brewers.
Luis Ortiz getting Christian Yelich to whiff on a changeup out of the zone for the K— Platinum Ke’Bryan (@PlatinumKey13) September 4, 2023
90.3 MPH, 1646 RPM, 30 inVB, 14 inHB pic.twitter.com/BKw1fDNcmV
Now moving forward what does Ortiz’ role on the team look like? In a season where he’s spent almost the same amount of time between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, I think there is still a lot of hope for the development of Ortiz. He has a nasty fastball, there’s no doubt about that, and he is continuing to work on off-speed pitches to expand his bag. Ortiz needs to work on consistency on the mound more than anything. For most ball clubs he is still throwing far too many balls which regularly keeps his pitch count high and sees him exit a contest early.
The contest against Milwaukee really showed the steps he has been taking towards the kind of consistency a starter in Major League Baseball requires. The chemistry he has seemed to build with catcher Endy Rodriguez seems to be paying dividends as well, as the trip to the mound on Monday clearly influenced the rest of his performance.
I do once again believe that come spring ball, Ortiz will be someone we pay close attention to, as he has a decent shot of sticking around in Pittsburgh’s rotation.