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Pirates All 40: How Effective Will Johan Oviedo Be in 2023?



Johan Oviedo- Pittsburgh Pirates

This is the one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Johan Oviedo from the Cardinals for veteran Jose Quintana, it seemed as though the Pirates got a solid bullpen arm. The Pirates, however, had different plans for the 6 foot 5 right-hander

The Pirates wanted to make Oviedo a starter, and if you looked at the splits, it seemed like a severe mistake. In 14 games as a reliever, Oviedo has pitched 25 innings with an ERA of 2.16 and held opponents to a .650 OPS.

During his career as a starter, Oviedo carries a 4.81 ERA with an opposing OPS of .743.

With very little competition in the Pirates clubhouse to take the starter role, it would appear that Oviedo is destined to be a middle of the rotation arm.

Could there be some hope for Oviedo and his starter aspirations? Let’s not forget there actually have been some improvements from Pirates pitchers as of late.


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For as much flack as the Pirates’ staff receives, there have been significant improvements from key arms. Some of those pitchers include Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker, Wil Crowe, and just maybe Oviedo.

One glimpse of improvement came late in the season for Oviedo.

On Sept 24, Oviedo faced the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, which marked his fifth start in a Pirates’ uniform.

Oviedo pitched seven shutout innings against the Cubs and allowed just three hits, no walks, and struck out seven. Oviedo earned his second win as a Pirate.

What we saw from Oviedo on Sept. 24 was a confident 24-year-old who trusted his four-seam and slider combination.

You could even point to his very next start on Sept. 30 as a significant sign of improvement.

Despite getting tagged with a loss, Oveido pitched six innings against his former St. Louis Cardinals. During that start, Oviedo gave up just two runs on six hits and two walks.

What was the one thing that Sept 24 and Sept. 30 have in common? The slider usage!

Oviedo’s slider usage has seen a huge uptick since 2021. During the ’21 season, Oviedo used his slider only 23.7% of the time.

Fast forward to the ’22 season, and Oviedo has reduced his four-seam usage from 53.3% to 43.5% and upped his slider usage to 40.3%.

Now we must wait and see how Oscar Marin and the entire pitching staff will handle Johan Oviedo and his pitch sequencing.


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