Three things the Pittsburgh Pirates can do to improve the bullpen

The Pittsburgh Pirates could immediate improve the bullpen by doing these three things asap.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels / Michael Owens/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

Figure out what the Pirates have in Luis Ortiz

Luis Ortiz has not done great to start the year. But to his defense, the Pirates don't seem to know what to do with him. Do they want him to be a late-inning arm? He has pitched in the 8th inning or later four times. Or do they want him to be a multi-inning arm they can use whenever? He's also pitched in the sixth inning or earlier on four other occasions.

Just like Ortiz's usage, he's been all over the place, performance-wise. Ortiz has tossed 14 innings, allowing six earned runs, walking ten, and striking out a dozen. Ortiz has induced a ton of ground balls and has a 52.6% GB%. He also has limited quality contact, holding opponents to a meager 2.6% barrel rate. While Ortiz has lost a touch of velocity, his overall stuff+ is up to 106, compared to 99 last year.

There's definitely more movement to his offerings. His sinker has gained about three inches of vertical drop and an inch of horizontal movement. Ortiz has also sacrificed about two inches of drop on his slider to add two inches of break. But his other offerings, like his four-seamer and change-up, look about the same.

Put Ortiz in a role and stick him there. Stop making him bounce around from role to role. If he's a multi-inning/long relief arm, then leave him in that role. If he's a late-inning arm, then let him pitch more in late innings. It could totally change how he approaches batters. Asking him to be good enough to give a few innings and keep the team in the game is totally different to asking him to hold a 1-3 run lead (or not let the opponent widen a close lead) in the 7th inning or later. If he can get comfortable in one role, he might pitch a lot better.