LUIS OVIEDO, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: May 15, 1996
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2015, (Indians)
How Acquired: Trade (with Mets)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Oviedo was a prominent signing for Cleveland at the start of the 2015-16 signing period. He has good size and throws four pitches — fastball, slider, curve and change — all of which could become average or better. His fastball velocity has been variable at times and he may have had some conditioning issues. At his best, he’s thrown in the mid-90s, reaching the upper-90s; he was hitting 98 in winter ball in 2020. His control has generally been good and he profiles as a starter. Cleveland lost him in the 2020 Rule 5 draft to the Mets, who immediately dealt him to the Pirates.
Oviedo had a solid debut, making 14 starts as a 17-year-old.
The Indians moved Oviedo up to rookie ball, where he showed outstanding stuff but got hit around some. Baseball America nevertheless rated him 22nd in the Cleveland system after the season.
Oviedo dominated in the New York-Penn League. Opponents batted .192 against him and he missed a lot of bats. BA ranked him the third best prospect in the league and 8th in the Indians’ system.
In full season ball, Oviedo had an erratic year. His first three starts provide an example: In the first two, he threw ten scoreless innings, but in the third, he allowed six runs and got only two outs. A lower back injury ended his season in mid-July. BA still ranked him 18th in a strong system.
The pandemic kept Oviedo from pitching in the US and the Indians did not bring him to their training camp. He made a few brief appearances in winter ball and showed better stuff than he had in 2019. The Indians didn’t protect him from the Rule 5 draft and the Mets selected him, then sent him to the Pirates for cash in what was surely a prearranged deal. Oviedo was one of the more high-upside prospects available in the 2020 Rule 5 draft. It probably helped the Pirates’ decision to acquire him that his velocity had rebounded in winter ball.
Oviedo became one of those inexplicable cases that we’ve seen from the Pirates’ new management team, like trying to turn Cole Tucker into an outfielder. The Pirates liked him enough to keep him all year, except for a minor league “injury” rehab. They knew from the start that they weren’t going to be competitive in 2021 and they were frequently out of games well before the end. It should have been a good opportunity to get Oviedo some high-level experience, but Derek Shelton simply wouldn’t put him into games. Oviedo seldom pitched more than once a week and, a number of times, went one to two weeks without appearing in a game. Shelton even acknowledged on multiple occasions that Oviedo needed to pitch more, but then didn’t make it happen. Oviedo mostly struggled, which is hardly surprising given the lack of work and the fact that he’d never pitched above Low A. Even then, he had a good stretch from August through early September, but Shelton continued to stick mostly with veterans like Kyle Keller, Enyel De Los Santos and Shelby Miller, who weren’t pitching as well as Oviedo.
Oviedo has satisifed the Rule 5 requirements, so he can be optioned to the minors. Hopefully, he’ll have a manager who’s willing to let him pitch. Due to an ankle sprain, though, he opened the season on the injured list.
UPDATE: Oviedo struggled with his control in several rehab outings after returning from the ankle problem and, in mid-April, the Pirates designated him for assignment. They did so to make room for Chase De Jong, which added another facet to their bizarre handling of Oviedo.
|2022: Major League Minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $375,000
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2026
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 12/10/2020
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 1.000
|July 2, 2015: Signed by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent.
December 10, 2020: Selected by the New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 Draft.
December 10, 2020: Traded by the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.
April 21, 2022: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.