The Giants have selected the contract of right-hander Luis Ortiz today. The club already had a vacancy on their 40-man roster after catcher Andrew Knapp was designated for assignment yesterday. Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle mentioned that Ortiz appeared to be about to join the club with Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area relaying that Ortiz had a locker for today’s game. Slusser also relays that outfielder Bryce Johnson has been optioned in a corresponding move to get Ortiz onto the active roster. Evan Webeck of the San Jose Mercury News relays that the moves are official.
Ortiz, 26, has some MLB experience, although a very small amount. In 2018, he made two appearances for the Orioles, followed by one more in 2019. He has a 12.71 ERA in a tiny sample of 5 2/3 innings over those three games. Prior to that, Ortiz was a highly-touted prospect with the Rangers, cracking Baseball America’s top 100 list in 2016 and 2017. He got traded to the Brewers and then to the Orioles, though his prospect stock faded as injuries limited his output. Despite being a starting pitcher in his early career, he only cracked the 100-inning plateau once, which was the 102 frames he logged over three levels in 2018.
He’s moved into more relief work over the past couple of seasons and seems to have taken a step forward here in 2022. Signed by the Giants to a minor league deal in the offseason, he’s spent this entire season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. His 4.66 ERA might not jump out and grab you, but it’s not as bad as it seems since the River Cats play in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Ortiz has a strong 25.7% strikeout rate for the season, along with a miniscule 4.5% walk rate and average-ish 42% groundball rate. It’s also worth noting that he’s gotten into an excellent groove after a rough start. Through June 28, his ERA was way up at 7.30, but he’s thrown 23 scoreless innings since then to cut almost three full runs off that number.
Ortiz will provide a fresh arm to a Giants bullpen that’s in the midst of a stretch where they play 20 games in 19 days thanks to tomorrow’s doubleheader in Milwaukee. He still has two options and just 29 days of service time, meaning the Giants could potentially keep him around for a while if he continues throwing well.