Pirates Prospects Daily: Familiar Theme Emerging In Early Spring For Luis Ortiz

  • For the most part, you can take spring training numbers and throw them in the trash. There are so many variables when it comes to the games, it makes it hard to put too much emphasis on what some of the basic counter statistics are.

Picking up trends or changes in a player can really tell more on what they are working on, or trying to improve upon.

Luis Ortiz blew onto the scene with his upper 90s fastball and wipeout slider, sending himself into the conversation as a potential rotation piece, and one of the better pitching prospects in baseball.

While his rise from Bradenton in 2021 to the majors to close out 2022, there is one thing that continues to rear his head out, and that’s his inability to miss bats with that fastball.

He’s working on the changeup, throwing it seven times in his start on Monday, but there is still obviously work to be done with that.

Of 24 swings by hitters on his fastball this swing, Ortiz has generated just three misses (12.5%). It’s two starts, and he’s thrown only 41 fastballs, but it’s a theme that emerged during his brief time in the majors last year.

Ortiz generated a 16.4% whiff rate with his fastball across his 16 major league innings. For context, of 594 pitchers in baseball who had at least 10 plate appearances determined by a fastball, he ranked 435th in the category.

Not everyone is going to rack up the swings and misses with the fastball, but it does seem odd that someone with the velocity he has (98th percentile in fastball velocity on Baseball Savant) is allowing so much contact with it.

Again, it was one start – realistically just one bad inning – but it’s also something we saw before in his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It’s something that’s going to happen from time to time, every pitch has a bad outing where they get lit up, but the fact that Ortiz allows so much contact with his fastball can certainly limit his upside as a starting pitcher.

If spring is about finding trends and changes, that may be the biggest one to follow the rest of the way out.

Where’s The Offense?

Spring results don’t matter, yes, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to see something, anything out of the offense. The Pirates have posted the second worst OPS so far (.597).

Connor Joe and Ji-Man Choi each went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, with the team finishing with 11 total. They have 98 in 10 games played so far. 

The starters haven’t really been completely worked in yet, so it’s hard to imagine a lot of them feel like they are in rhythm yet, but there is a .354 difference in their OPS and the current leaders – the Kansas City Royals – so some teams aren’t having that issue.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

**Spring Training Recap: Yankees 9, Pirates 2

**Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Wyatt Langford Makes Noise with a Powerful Weekend Our second weekly recap of the top draft prospects. Only college action going on so far.

**Pirates DVR: Tsung-Che Cheng And Chris Owings Home Run, More Draft Prospects

**Pirates Prospects Daily: Depth May Need To Show Up Sooner Than Expected In case you missed it yesterday

Song of the Day

Today’s Lineup

Pirates are home vs the Toronto Blue Jays. 1:05 PM start time, and it will be televised. Michael Burrows, Carmen Mlodzinski and Cody Bolton will all pitch, for you lovers of prospects.

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.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Gotta love the internet, saw a guy wearing a Ellis tie dye jersey in the stands, just ordered!


Ellis, D.


This one;

b mcferren

+1 for Bae defense at shortstop

b mcferren

welcome back Bob Walk

brown: “tell me more about the gyro cutter Bob”

walk: “its all greek to me”


Love the banter with Walk and Brownie discussing the rule changes….funny stuff!

b mcferren

Varsho my pick for american league 2023 MVP

b mcferren

lets go bucs!


Selby had Judge struck out on 2-2 fastball if there were robo umps. And the oppo taco he gave up to him on 3-2 slider went straight over RF head all of 346 feet. A can of corn in most MLB parks.


Blue has a bad game, he squeezed Oviedo a few times.


I love how coaches always say it’s:
1. Location
2. Movement
3. Velocity
In that order. Then give a zillion chances to the high velocity guys. And if that order is true, where are all the 89 MPH finesse pitchers that should be proving it correct? Not many Kyle Hendricks or Rich Hill out there. At the MLB level velocity matters a lot. Just have to be able harness it.


Bae at SS today. The search for a backup SS continues.

b mcferren

Triolo still in camp


Wonder why he doesn’t get reps at SS, what good is he at 1b?


Chris Owings already won the backup ss. He has a home run already, and is hitting .222, with a 1.084 OPS. He is almost hitting too good for the Pirates, but that career .653 OPS, is right where the Pirates like their utility infielders to be, and once he starts working with Haines, he will make sure he does not exceed that.


I failed to appreciate Newman, stupid of me!


I haven’t seen enough video to determine what the issue is with Ortiz’s fastball. It doesn’t make sense that it’s so hittable at that velo. Those that have seen him this ST, is the issue location (he’s grooving pecker high watermelons) or pitch shape (straight as an arrow)?

If it’s location, then sure it’s easy to chock up to it’s only ST. If it’s pitch shape, then he’s going to need to work on a 2 seamer.


Jesus wept, pecker high watermelons may be my new favorite phrase!


I’d love to see what a dev team like Hou would do with Ortiz.

He’s far from a finished product…He need to clean up his command and he needs the change. He’s also down a couple ticks in velo from last season…probably just ramping up.

Major league hitters are really good and if you only have 2 pitches, they’ll sit on the heat and hit it. he’s not grooving it and it moves. He threw a handful of changeups, but they were noncompetitive pitches.

Not making excuses, but the defense behind him was terrible. I thought Andujar could’ve caught a couple fly balls that a competent RF’er would’ve had. Marcano also had a grounder that he probably should’ve turned into an out. That said, they were hitting him hard. Aaron Hicks hit one about 500′ but foul.


Ray Miller would straighten him out.


He has a two seamer…..hopefully is something stupid like tipping.


Good news (says to self): it’s only March 7th. Spring Training means nothing. And Dylan F’ing Crews.

Bad news:
*hoping for a better first two weeks fresh off consecutive 100 loss seasons for the first time in like 70 years? Yes.
*hoping for some more confidence in a skipper exactly 100 games under .500 in only 2.5 years worth of regular season games & even 22 games under .500 for spring training games during his limited tenure? Yup.
*a little concerned with what Wilbur reported yesterday: “On the spring they’re 30th by wide margins in BA and OBP, and 29th in walks.” Si.

I’m not saying today against Toronto is a must win, I’m just saying today against Toronto is a must win

To borrow from Yogi: it’s getting late early!



Is this serious? You’re talking about spring training games and worried about the results?


Must win game was obviously a joke. (I can’t figure out how to use emojis here )


I knew the must win part was. I was more referring to Anthony’s comments on how players looked. We’re still 3 plus weeks away from games.


I feel a bit of doom and gloom myself, almost to the point that I’m questioning if should bother watching, nothing looks great. The prospects look awful, the regulars are as boring as boring gets. Like you say I need a reason (good game or ten) to believe!

Last edited 22 days ago by PirateRican21

Pretend it’s like every baseball season of your life until like 5 years ago.

This pitch-by-pitch spring training coverage is just hilarious.


I’m the Billy Beane of this site. I don’t watch the games at all, just read about it after. Too many books to read, too much music to listen to, golf courses play to waste time watching.


Right on. I, too, will admit that a full 9-inning game is more of a treat than a standard. Will also watch a bunch of MLB’s condensed games for other teams.


If my wife knew I compared myself to Brad Pitt, I’d get that look.


Good time to remind you things are never as bad as they seem.

If it’s March 25th and they’re still scuffling, then it’s ok to be worried. Until then, enjoy the high points, dismiss the low points, and hope for a healthy conclusion to the day for the guys wearing spikes.


WBC starts tonite on FS1 to re-direct our attention.


Yes, thank you! Bought my team PR hat yesterday, can wait for that division to start play. But very interested in watching the Japanese team in that division.


Japan and the USA are always stacked, but the team I find most intriguing is the DR team. A Japan, DR Semifinal would be really interesting to watch.

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