Pittsburgh Pirates: Luis Ortiz Set For Big 2023 Season

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After turning heads with the Pittsburgh Pirates last September, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz is set for a big 2023 season

He will likely start the season at the Triple-A level and not with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite this, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz is in a position for a big 2023 season with the Pirates. Sooner rather than later, he should have a spot in the Pirate starting rotation locked down.

The 24-year-old Cruz started the 2022 season with the Double-A Altoona Curve. After pitching well in Altoona and seeing a big uptick in his stuff, he earned his first promotion to the Triple-A level where he made a pair of starts.

Following these two starts with the Indianapolis Indians the hard-throwing righty earned four starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates in September. While he sturggled in his final start, failing to get out of the 1st inning, Cruz turned a lot of heads in September.

In four starts with the Pirates, Ortiz pitched 16.0 innings posting a 4.50 ERA and a 3.67 FIP. He allowed just 1 home run (0.56 HR/9), walked 14.5% of batters faced, and struck batters out at a 24.6% clip. Outside of his disastrous final start of the season, Cruz posted a 1.17 ERA, 2.26 FIP, 11.5% walk rate, 27.9% strikeout rate, and did not allow a home run while pitching 15.1 innings.

Ortiz is now in a position to put together a strong 2023 season. He will compete for a spot in the team's starting rotation this spring, but will likely begin the season back at Indianapolis. With a power fastball and a potentially elite slider, Ortiz can lock down a starting rotation spot while becoming a quality MLB starter in 2023.

The first time the Pirates need to turn to the minors for a starting pitcher in 2023 Ortiz will likely be the guy they call upon. When this happens, Ortiz will be given the opportunity to pitch his way into earning a permanent rotation spot. It would not be a surprise to see Ortiz emerge in the Pirate rotation as the 2023 season goes on.

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