Pittsburgh Pirates: Team Should Continue to Use Luis Oviedo

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates got a solid start last night against the San Diego Padres,  However, things unraveled for one of the relief arms.

By now it should be obvious, the Pittsburgh Pirates are not going to be a good team this year.  The team overhauled their Front Office a little over a year ago, and brought in a completely new regime.  The new regime has put a plan in place to lead to future success for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It is not about the wins and losses this year, or even next year.  The goal this year is to see some of the young talent start to make strides.

The team is in a situation to do this because of the broken financial structure in Major League Baseball.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, along with a handful of other small market teams, have to operate in a different manner, especially compared to the big market teams.  This is not a process that can be fixed over night by spending.

The teams success is, and will continue to, lean on the minor league system.  The Front Office has identified specific types of players they look for and have done a good job of acquiring young talent that fits the bill.  One of those young players is pitcher Luis Oviedo, who the Bucs acquired during this past year’s Rule Five Draft.  Due to being selected in the Rule Five Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates must keep him on the roster.

Oviedo fits the mold of everything you would want in a big league pitcher, big body, hard throwing, nice spins rates.  However, he still has a lot of work to do, especially with his command of his secondary pitches.  The reason this is an issue is because Oviedo has not pitched above Single-A and is just 21 years of age.  So it’s not an ideal situation, but the team was able to acquire a Top 25 prospect for nothing and that is the goal, to get talent in other ways.

With that being said, Oviedo is going to have to go through a lot of ups and downs this season.  The team needs him to pitch, grow and show if he has what it will take to make the transition to starting.  After all, Oviedo is viewed as a starting pitching prospect.

Last night, Oviedo got really roughed up for the first time this year.  His fastball had a lot of life to it, but he really had a tough time getting his breaking pitches over for strikes.  Because of this, the loaded Padres lineup was able to sit fastball, with Wil Myers making the biggest impact.  Still, Oviedo worked through it and actually completed 1.2 innings.

So the question is, should the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to use Luis Oviedo in close game situations like last night, or should they bury him in the bullpen and only use him in “mop up” duty? The answer is simple, they should continue to use him.  The most important thing that one could take away from Oviedo’s work last night was that he was able to still get outs and push through that first inning.

That in itself could be a point of development: “Hey here is what you were doing when things were going good, here is what you were doing when things went bad”.  Rather than a “Okay, you pitched bad, we are going to bury you in the bullpen until there is a game that doesn’t matter.”

Either way this could hurt his confidence right?  Sure, but hopefully Oviedo realizes that bad outings will happen, especially going against the lineup he had to face.  This is something that happened with Tyler Glasnow, who when he struggled was moved to the bullpen and other low leverage innings.  This didn’t help and led to him posting a 5.79 ERA in Pittsburgh.  Furthermore, with the new more positive message and support that organization is pushing, no one is going to be mad at Oviedo for struggling, or at least no one should be.

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Remember this team is not meant to win this year, what will be more important is finding the young pieces now who could play a role in this team’s future.  Burying Luis Oviedo will not help him develop as a pitcher physically or mentally, the best way for him to improve is to continue and get real experience and learning to trust his stuff.