Tuesday night in World Baseball Classic action Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz were both impressive while pitching for the Dominican Republic
In Monday night's World Baseball Classic action, Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Duane Underwood Jr. helped Puerto Rico throw a perfect in a victory over Israel. Underwood Jr. pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, which proved to be the final inning of the game due to the tournament's mercy rule.
Tuesday night, the Israel lineup struggled again in a 10-0 loss against the Dominican Republic. This time, two Pirate pitchers contributed to the offensvie woes of the Israeli team. These two pitchers were young righties Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz.
Contreras started for the DR on Tuesday night and looked very impressive. In 2.2 innings pitched, he allowed one hit, did not walk a batter, and struck out four batters. Contreras retired eight of the nine batters he faced while throwing 28 of his 41 pitches for strikes.
Ortiz would come in out of the DR bullpen. For as impressive as Contreras was on the mound on Tuesday night, Ortiz may have been even more impressive continuing to fuel his skyrocketing prospect stock.
Ortiz pitched 3 perfect innings. The most impressive part of Ortiz retiring all nine batters he faced is that he struck out three batters and still needed just 23 pitches, 16 of which he threw for strikes, to do so. Pitching 3 perfect innings on just 23 pitches is very impressive, to strikeout three batters along the way adds to the imrpessiveness.
Contreras is looking to take a big step forward this season. He will be at the top of the Pirate starting rotation with Mitch Keller when the season begins. If Contreras can build off the ground he laid for himself last season, he could emerge as one of the best young starters in the National League.
While Ortiz will likely begin the season in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis, it should not take him long to be given an opportunity to make an impact in the majors. Ortiz's stuff continues to look better and better. If this continues and Ortiz is pitching well at Triple-A, he will join the Pirate starting rotation at some point early in the season.
2023 could see Contreras and Ortiz develop as one of the best young 1-2 starting pitching punches in the NL. The talent they have to make this possible was on full display for the DR in Tuesday night's WBC action.