Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Luis Ortiz Needs Moved To The Bullpen

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
2 of 2
Pittsburgh Pirates
Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

Ortiz is a similar prospect to Tahnaj Thomas. Thomas is another right-handed pitching prospect in the system with a big fastball and quality slider, but his change-up is rarely used and is a poor pitch. Like Ortiz, Thomas mowed down batters as a starter in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but his effectiveness waned as he was moved up the system.

This year, Thomas has gotten acclimated to a full-time bullpen role. Since the start of June, Thomas has thrown 20.2 innings of work with a 1.74 ERA, 2.32 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP. Thomas’ K% is approaching 30%, sitting at 29.6%. However, the more impressive numbers are his 4.9% walk rate and .44 HR/9.

Now there are cases of guys developing a third pitch. Take Mike Burrows, who has become one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top starting pitching prospests for example. He entered 2021 with massive questions as to whether or not he could remain in the rotation long-term. Fast forward to today, and his change-up is a quality third offering to go with his high-spin fastball and curveball. Now, he’s pushing top-100 prospect status. Ortiz also skipped an entire level of the minor leagues, going from A-Ball Bradenton to Double-A Altoona.

Next. Prospects Who Should be Called Up Post-Deadline. dark

But Burrows didn’t struggle to make it three innings at Double-A like Ortiz is. Burrows is trending in the right direction, while Ortiz is trending in the opposite direction. It’s clear that he has the ability to handle batters in the upper levels of the minor leagues, but not for an extended look. He excels in the first two innings but struggles after that. The Pirates need to give him the same treatment they gave Tahnaj Thomas and move Luis Ortiz to the bullpen. Not only would it benefit Ortiz’s performance to pitch only one or two innings at a time, but his fastball might see a slight uptick in speed.