This is the one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
They say first impressions last forever and if that’s the case, Luis Ortiz made a pretty strong one this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 23-year-old worked his way to Pittsburgh late in the season and made four starts on the year. In those four starts, Ortiz posted a 4.50 ERA/3.67 FIP with 17 strikeouts in 16 innings.
Three of those starts went very well for the young right-hander. His last one inflated his ERA as he surrendered six runs while recording two outs in his final start of the year against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even with the hiccup at the end of the year, Ortiz impressed. He featured a fastball that often hit triple digits on the radar gun and complemented the pitch with a strong slider that has the ability to miss bats.
Thanks to what he showed on the mound, Fangrpahs named Ortiz the 50th-best prospect in all of baseball in their end-of-season update to their Top 100 list.
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Ortiz has breezed through the Pirates’ system. He spent the entire 2021 season with Single-A Bradenton, where he went 5-3 with a 3.09 ERA and an impressive 138:38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 124.1 frames.
The Dominican Republic native skipped High-A Greensboro and began the 2022 season with Double-A Altoona before a late-season promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis before he was able to call himself a big leaguer.
Heading into the 2023 season, Ortiz has a shot to crack the Pirates’ Opening Day rotation, though it may be likely he begins the year with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Ortiz only made a pair of starts with the Bucs’ highest minor league affiliate. Plus, the Pirates have a number of options for the starting rotation in Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, JT Brubaker, Johan Oviedo, and the newly-signed Vince Velasquez.
General manager Ben Cherington said that the team is open to adding even another starting pitcher to the mix.
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Whether Ortiz cracks the Opening Day roster remains to be seen, but he is expected to have a fairly substantial role with the club in 2023.
If he doesn’t break camp with the Pirates, he could be one of the first call-ups to make a start — or multiple — when needed.