The Pittsburgh Pirates wrapped their 2022 season with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, leaving them with an even 100 losses on the year.
With the season over, attention can shift to what kind of changes need to be made with the roster in hopes on avoiding a third straight 100-loss record.
While their immediate needs are pretty straight forward to an extent, rotation help, an actual first baseman, as well as maybe some outfielders, the offseason will also be the time for the players returning to make adjustments to help them succeed at the major league level.
Johan Oviedo, Mitch Keller 2.0?
We all saw the success that Mitch Keller had this season, and it all came back to him adopting a sinker that offered some much needed movement to his arsenal. Johan Oviedo could probably use the same kind of treatment if he wants to stick around at the major league level.
Oviedo was moved to the bullpen by the Cardinals at the beginning of the season, before getting moved back to the rotation upon getting traded to the Pirates. He’s looked good, but the fastball can get a little flat at times. The first two batters of the game for the Cardinals on Wednesday really took advantage of that, back-to-back hits that put them on the board immediately.
Lars Nootbaar led off the game with a 109.5 mph double on a fastball low. According to Statcast, Oviedo has the eighth worst average vertical movement on his four-seam fastball among qualified pitchers (average movement is based off other fastballs comparable to velocity, extension and release).
Luis Ortiz Third Pitch Development
You can almost say that it was a good thing that Ortiz got beat around a bit in his last start, as it exposed a key aspect of his game, the lack of a changeup. Tim Williams wrote about Ortiz’s struggles against lefties, and that flashed a bit in the majors in his brief time, as he walked more than he struck out.
Further development on the changeup will really help that, and will really help Ortiz’s chances on being one of the first starters called up next season.
Find A Real First Baseman, But Prepare Like You Can’t Find One
I am truly surprised that someone on the Pirates, more on the fringe of staying on the roster, hasn’t voluntarily walked in Derek Shelton’s office and ask for reps at first, seeing the opportunity there. Maybe that’s what happened with Diego Castillo and Ben Gamel, but regardless there’s quite the glaring hole in the upper levels at the position.
Players who really might be on the fringe (Cal Mitchell and Castillo come to mind that are already on the 40-man) could really take advantage of that by coming into camp having worked not hat over the offseason.
Miguel Andújar is also a name thrown around, although he played the majority of the time in left field, or as the DH and doesn’t have much experience at first. He too could really benefit from a focus on learning first base in the offseason.
Highlight of the Day
— Prospects Worldwide (@ProspectsWorldW) October 6, 2022
Pirates Prospects Spotlight
- AFL Recap: Davis, Gonzales and Sabol All Contribute to Victory
- Mike Burrows Worked Through a Challenge in Triple-A
- Osvaldo Bido Finished the 2022 Season With an Increase in Strikeouts
- Omar Cruz: Changeup Lets Fastball Play Up Despite Low Velocity
- P2Daily: Defense Can’t Be Overlooked In Offseason Plans
Song of the Day
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.