The Orioles announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Luis Ortiz from Triple-A Norfolk. The 22-year-old Ortiz came to Baltimore alongside infielder Jonathan Villar in the July 31 trade that sent Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles to the Brewers.
Ortiz entered the 2017 season as a consensus top 100 prospects throughout the game, but he delivered fairly pedestrian results at the Double-A level as a 21-year-old and missed a couple of weeks due to injury along the way, all of which dropped his stock a bit heading into 2018. He currently ranks seventh among Orioles farmhands per MLB.com, though, and he’s had a solid year between a return to Double-A and his first exposure to Triple-A opposition.
Ortiz posted near-identical ERAs in Double-A (3.69) and Triple-A (3.71) this season, and his walk rate between the two levels was once again nearly identical (2.3 BB/9 in Double-A, 2.4 in Triple-A). He missed more bats at the lower of those two levels (8.6 K/9 vs. 6.0) but has generally been good about keeping the ball in the park and limiting free passes. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo note in the previously mentioned scouting report that Ortiz has a fastball that’ll run up to 97 mph and at least one potentially plus secondary offering in his slider. He’ll obviously be facing his share of tough opponents in the AL East, but given the lack of certainty in the Baltimore rotation picture, Ortiz will have the opportunity to audition for a starting job in 2019 and beyond.
The O’s can control Ortiz through at least the 2024 season even if he never returns to the minors from this point forth, and he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2021 season at the earliest. He’ll be the second trade addition with a chance to audition for a future rotation spot already this season, joining lefty Josh Rogers in that regard. Baltimore also already has right-hander Cody Carroll in the big league bullpen and has given Villar regular looks in the infield following this summer’s fire sale.