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Johan Oviedo enjoys the opportunity to start again


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A good chunk of the 2022 campaign has featured Johan Oviedo coming out of the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen to strong success.

Oviedo, who was acquired in the deadline deal that sent José Quintana and Chris Stratton to the Cardinals, is viewed by the Pirates as a long-term starter. He is currently in Indianapolis, getting stretched out, and is fine with the plan.

“I’ve always been a starter,” Oviedo sad. “This year, after one first start in the big leagues, the rest was as a reliever. I’m always ready to be a starter. That’s what I love. If I have to relieve at some point, I’ll do anything to get myself out there. I would love to start, and I think I’m ready for it.“

Cherington didn’t rule out Oviedo getting some time in Pittsburgh this season as well on his weekly radio spot. However, that seems unlikely to be soon, at least as a starter. Oviedo’s last start was on June 4 for the Cardinals. In July, he only worked into a second inning four times.

The main issue is that Oviedo has performed better as a reliever with the Cardinals than he did for the most part as a starter in the minor leagues. In 25.1 innings this year with St. Louis, he posted an ERA of 3.20. In his career in the minor leagues, Oviedo has posted a 4.70 ERA in 97 appearances over 93 starts. Coming out of the bullpen with the Cardinals, his walks per nine were at a career low, while not impacting his strikeout totals.

On the surface, it appears that Oviedo is better suited coming out of the bullpen. However, he is prepared to take his positive experience out of the bullpen into a starting role.

“Coming out of the bullpen, you have to attack right away,“ Oviedo said. “There’s no time for going around or trying to make something. You have to go with everything you’ve got and get ahead, and try to get quick outs. As a starter, I want to put myself in a pretty good position to go out and attack hitters and get quick outs, to go long in the game.“

As per his overall stuff, Oviedo thinks he has an improved feel for all of his pitches.

“I think my fastball control has improved a lot from relieving,” Oviedo said. “Also, the confidence to throw any type of pitches in any situation is way better than it was before. I’ve always been confident with my slider and curveball in any count or situation, but right now I feel like I can throw anything for strikes. I’m going to try to take advantage of that.”


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Ryan Palencer
Ryan Palencer
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

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