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2023 Phillies in review: Luis Ortiz

Need a quad-A reliever? Luis Ortiz may be your man.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets - Game One
Luis Ortiz is very familiar with the route between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley
Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The last one or two spots in a major league bullpen are typically fungible. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, a team will often have to churn through several options to fill those spots throughout the season. Typically, the players on the edge of the roster will bounce between the minors and majors, and when they are on the big-league team, they aren’t generally used in high-leverage spots.

Luis Ortiz served in that role for the Phillies in 2023. The former top 100 prospect was selected off waivers at the tail end of the 2022 season and made a solid accounting of himself in Spring Training. He didn’t win a job to start the season, but he made it to the major league roster before the end of April.

2023 stats: 14 games, 19 IP, 0-0 W-L, 1 save, 3.32 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9

The good

Ortiz pitched well after his initial call up, giving up only one run in eight innings across six games. He didn’t walk a batter while striking out nine.

Ortiz earned his first career save for pitching the final three innings of a blowout win over the Diamondbacks in July. However, it wasn’t the prettiest save ever recorded, as he gave up two runs in those three innings.

The bad

His effectiveness began to wane after that hot start, and the Phillies sent him back to the minors after a couple of shaky appearances to begin May. He spent the rest of the season moving between the majors and minors, generally only coming up when the Phillies needed an extra bullpen arm, only to quickly return to the minors.

The Phillies’ transaction log is full of entries similar to this:

His pitching was uneven for most of the season, but it is possible that the constant moving from the minors to majors may have negatively affected him.

The future

Ortiz is still under team control but could easily be designated for assignment if the Phillies need an additional spot on their 40-man roster. I expect the Phillies to bring him back to Spring Training, and once again be in the mix for one of the final bullpen spots. Heading into his age 28 season, it’s unlikely that he ever lives up to his one-time status as a top prospect, but there’s always hope that he can have a breakthrough ala Jeff Hoffman and become a viable middle reliever.