LUIS ORTIZ, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: January 17, 1999
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2018
How Acquired: Int’l Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Ortiz was 19 when the Pirates signed him and 20 when he started his career. His stuff took a jump after the Pirates signed him, with his fastball reaching as high as 95 and sitting at 93. By early 2021 he was sitting at 95-97, then in 2022 he started hitting triple digits frequently. His best secondary pitch is a slider that’s extremely tough on right-handed hitters, and he also throws a change.
Ortiz started his career in the rotation at Bristol, which was an ambitious assignment. He pitched well until he started having control problems in August. In July, he had a 2.33 ERA, with four walks and 17 strikeouts in 19.1 IP. In August, he fell off to a 5.56 ERA, with 16 walks and 13 strikeouts in 22.2 IP.
Ortiz had something of a breakout season with Bradenton. He started the season well, then had a shaky stretch in June, mainly due to control problems. From the beginning of July on, he had an ERA of 2.73, along with 78 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 56 innings. Ortiz generated a lot of swings and misses, finishing second in the league to teammate Adrian Florencio in strikeouts, with 113. He was very tough on right-handed batters, holding them to an OPS of .599. Left-handed batters had an OPS against him of .708.
Ortiz flew under the prospect radar until late in the 2022 season, when he suddenly flew quite a ways up the prospect rankings. He spent most of the year in Altoona. Even though he was skipping a level, he often dominated. For instance, he had two immaculate innings (9 pitches, 3 strikeouts), which doubled the number in Altoona history. He had a good WHIP, but his ERA ended up higher than his other stats would suggest, as whatever went wrong often seem to go wrong all at once. His xFIP was a much better 3.76. Ortiz made two starts for Indianapolis in early September. He struggled a bit in one, then allowed no hits and fanned nine over six innings in the other. The Pirates called him up due to a doubleheader and, in the end, he made four starts for them due to an injury. The first three were outstanding, including a strong one against the Yankees. He failed to survive the first in the last one. He had gopher ball problems, allowing 21 (19 for Altoona), or one every six and two-thirds innings. Left-handed hitters accounted for a dozen of those and put up an .802 OPS, so that’s obviously an issue. Right-handed hitters managed just .578.
In what seems like the blink of an eye, Ortiz has established himself as one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects. He does have things to address going forward, the primary one being left-handed hitters. Ortiz should get a serious chance to open the season in the Pirates’ rotation. If the past is any guide, though, the Pirates will want to manipulate his service time to save the cost of one more arbitration year. Winning games never enters into their calculations, so he may not return to the majors until close to mid-season.
|2023: Major League Minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $25,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MLB Debut: 9/13/2022
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 9/13/2022
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.023
|October 2, 2018: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
September 13, 2022: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.