Need Some Relief? These 3 Pitchers Have Stepped Up for the Pirates' Bullpen

Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
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The final standout, Luis Ortiz, has similarly reduced hard contact this season. His xWOBACON (expected weighted on-base average on contact, essentially the expected run-producing value of balls put in play) currently ranks in the top two percent of qualifying pitchers. To achieve this, Ortiz has prioritized his sinker, rather than his slider, which was his most-used pitch last season. Considering Ortiz’s sinker had a positive run value of eight in 2023, which ranked him among the top 25 sinkerballers in the league, a focus on this pitch seems appropriate. Once he gets ahead in the count, he executes his slider as a put-away pitch.

Ortiz, though, isn’t a strikeout pitcher. His strikeout rate landed in the fourth percentile last season. Rather, he prevents line drives (only a six percent rate) by varying his arsenal. Each of his pitches (other than his cutter, which he has only used twice this year) boasts a positive run value. The only detraction for Ortiz is his walk rate. He has issued eight free passes in seven appearances thus far.