Connect with us


Demilio: Johan Oviedo’s Fate Is Pirates’ Most Interesting Spring Storyline



Pittsburgh Pirates, Johan Oviedo

This is the second in a series where writers pick what they feel will be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most interesting storyline of spring training. Johan Oviedo

Johan Oviedo passed his first impression with the Pittsburgh Pirates with flying colors.

The big right-hander pitched well out of the Bucs’ rotation after he was acquired alongside first base prospect Malcom Nunez from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitchers Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton in August.

After some brief seasoning with Triple-A Indianapolis when he was first acquired, Oviedo was eventually called up and inserted into the Pirates’ rotation.

Despite being plagued by some early command issues, Oviedo finished his first season in Pittsburgh with a 2-2 record and a 3.23 ERA in seven starts to end the season.

In addition to striking out 28 batters in his 30.2 innings, Oviedo yielded only one home run and limited opponents to a .198 batting average and a minuscule .547 OPS against.

Despite the strong showing and the potential upside Oviedo offers, his role — and placement for that matter — to start 2023 is still unclear.

After adding veterans Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez this winter, both of whom are expected to begin the year in Pittsburgh’s rotation, the Pirates’ starting five appears to be set. This of course is barring any unforeseen injuries or other factors that might cause of change of plans.

Hill and Velasquez, alongside Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras and JT Brubaker give the Pirates a full rotation, at least on paper, to begin the year.


States: PA, WV, NY, NJ

Get a $50 bet free when you sign up with DraftKings.

A lot can be determined during spring training and Oviedo could surely earn a spot in the rotation with a strong spring. Johan Oviedo

However, if the Pirates don’t plan on using Oviedo in the club’s preliminary rotation, the Bucs have two other options for the soon-to-be 25-year-old.

One option is to have Oviedo pitch out of the Bucs’ bullpen to start the season. Before the Cardinals traded him to Pittsburgh, they utilized Oviedo in a relief capacity.

In that role with St. Louis, Oviedo shined. In 20.1 innings across 13 appearances out of the Cardinals’ bullpen, Oviedo pitched to a 2.66 ERA with 21 strikeouts and only four walks.

Oviedo’s big fastball and sharp slider combination certainly plays well out of the bullpen, but there could be one roadblock from a relief role happening.

Upon his arrival to the organization, the Pirates were adamant about utilizing the newly-acquired Oviedo as a starting pitcher.

Across his 12 appearances after the trade, all but one came as a starter. Oviedo’s lone relief appearance with his new organization was his very first with Triple-A Indianapolis.

To Oviedo’s credit, he did nothing that would indicate the Pirates would have any second thoughts about using him as a starting pitcher. In fact, if anything at all, the Pirates are probably even happier with their decision.

If the Pirates do indeed want Oviedo to continue as a starting pitcher, then beginning the year back in Triple-A is the final option for the Pirates to consider.

With Indianapolis, Oviedo can make his scheduled starts without any interruption.

Oviedo’s performance this spring will be an interesting storyline to follow.

Will he do enough to earn his rotation spot with the big league club? Will he be used as a swing-man type out of the bullpen, appearing as a long reliever who can make spot starts when needed? Or will he begin the year in the minors?

Whatever decision the Pirates ultimately make will be decided on the performance and health of Johan Oviedo as well as the other pitchers in similar roles.

On Monday, John Perrotto made the case that the second base battle will be the Pirates’ most intriguing spring storyline to follow.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe today!

PBN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.

Copyright © 2024 National Hockey Now. All rights reserved. In no way endorsed by the Pittsburgh Pirates or Major League Baseball.

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (PA/IL) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN only) or 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA only) or 1-800-522-4700 (CO Only) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789.