Phillies 2024 Season Preview: RHP Luis Ortiz

Ortiz is projected to be a bullpen depth piece again this season and could find more success if he can harness his new pitch mix.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Luis Ortiz
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Luis Ortiz / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Up next in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview is right-hander Luis Ortiz.

Previous season previews: José Alvarado, Andrew Bellatti, Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon, Nick Castellanos, Rodolfo Castro, Kody Clemens, Jake Cave, Dylan Covey, Seranthony Domínguez, Darick Hall, Kolby Allard, Bryce Harper, Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, Rafael Marchán, Brandon Marsh, Yunior Marté, Diego Castillo, Michael Mercado, McKinley Moore, Max Castillo, Nick Nelson, Aaron Nola

We'll start by examining Ortiz's 2023 performance and then see where he might end up this season using the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Luis Ortiz 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 14 G, 19 IP, 0-0 record, 1 SV, 3.32 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 1.47 WHIP, 16 SO, 5 BB, 0.2 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 33 G, 33 IP, 2-2 record, 4.32 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 28 SO, 11 BB, 0.1 fWAR

2024 ZiPS DC: 33 G, 33 IP, 2-1 record, 4.74 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 27 SO, 10 BB, 0.0 fWAR

Luis Ortiz 2024 season preview

Luis Ortiz, 28, did a lot of traveling between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia in 2023. After being one of last winter's depth waiver claims from the San Francisco Giants, the right-hander got called up to the big league bullpen from Triple-A six times.

He appeared in 14 games for the Phillies, throwing 19 innings with a 3.32 ERA and a 3.04 FIP despite logging a 1.47 WHIP. He appeared in 33 games for the IronPigs, throwing 45 innings with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Ortiz still on the radar as a bullpen depth piece

The projection systems look at Ortiz as a viable option for the Phillies this year, expecting him to log over 30 innings this season. With a 20 percent strikeout rate in his brief MLB exposure last year and an over 50 percent ground ball rate, he should be able to succeed out of the big league bullpen.

Don't let the higher projected ratios fool you. The Steamer and ZiPS projections are influenced by his first foray into MLB when he posted a 12.71 ERA in 5 2/3 innings over two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. He was lights out in SF in 2022 with 1.04 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 8 2/3.

Ortiz's pitch-mix changed drastically with the Phillies

Something changed for Ortiz when he came to the Phillies organization last season. The pitching development team had him add a sweeper to his four-pitch mix and increased the usage of his 94.5 mph sinker. He used those two pitches 69.9 percent of the time, significantly reducing his reliance on his four-seamer and slider.

Unfortunately, there was a disconnect between the outcomes and expected stats with the sweeper and sinker, as you can see in the table below.

Pitch

BA

xBA

SLG

xSLG

wOBA

xwOBA

Sweeper

.294

.188

.529

.254

.399

.268

Sinker

.368

.266

.500

.389

.380

.292

Hopefully, the Phillies' pitching development staff can help Ortiz continue to refine these offerings. Time will tell whether he can successfully use them in the big leagues.

FanGraphs ranks him 10th on the Phillies relief pitcher Depth Chart. He'll likely start the year in Triple-A and, with one option remaining, is a top candidate to get the call when the Phillies need an extra arm in the bullpen.

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