Milwaukee Brewers: Prospect Spotlight On Luis Ortiz

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DENVER, CO - JUNE 21: The game ball sits atop the pitcher's mound as the Milwaukee Brewers prepare to face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 21, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Brewers defeated the Rockies 9-4. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 21: The game ball sits atop the pitcher's mound as the Milwaukee Brewers prepare to face the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 21, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Brewers defeated the Rockies 9-4. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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There’s a little more than a month remains before the Milwaukee Brewers begin Spring Training. I can barely temper my excitement! In the meantime, MLB Pipeline releases a new Top 100 prospects list in just a couple of weeks.

Ahead of that list coming out, I would like to take this time to remind you of Luis Ortiz. One of the top ranked prospects in the Milwaukee Brewers system, Ortiz is on the cusp of the Majors. He has the potential to be a game changer for The Crew and that’s something this rotation needs.

Drafted 30th overall by the Texas Rangers in 2014, Ortiz was a big piece received in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. His fastball can hit the upper 90’s and he throws strikes. So he’s not afraid to be aggressive with the hitter.

Ortiz  hasn’t wowed anybody in his 118 innings pitched since being acquired by Milwaukee. He is 6-9 with a 3.58 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 47 walks. His 3.6 BB/9 isn’t a bad number, but it definitely doesn’t give the impression of a future ace. However, his stuff is projected to make an impact for the Brewers in the near future.

Projected to be a number two starter, Milwaukee needs Ortiz to fulfill his promise. Projections are wrong more than they’re right, so maybe Ortiz exceeds expectations, and ascends to the top of the rotation. Or maybe he stalls out in the middle of the rotation.

At 6’3″ and 230 pounds Ortiz has the frame, and youth, to become more than he already is. Blessed with an above average fastball, if Ortiz can develop his change-up, he has the potential to be special.

What does the future hold?

Right now, the Milwaukee Brewers need all the pitching they can get. They don’t necessarily need Ortiz to become an ace, but they do need him to reach his potential. The Crew already have three above average arms with Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson, and Zach Davies all locked up for the foreseeable future. Ortiz will only add to an already solid rotation moving forward.

Brandon Woodruff emerged last season as a reliable option, giving Milwaukee the makings of a very good rotation when healthy. The healthy part is where the problem comes in. Nelson won’t even begin throwing until Spring Training starts, so he won’t be back until well into the summer. Anderson missed some time last season, as well as Woodruff, so the Brewers need every arm they can get.

Ortiz won’t break camp with the Major League team, unless he has a really strong spring. The opportunity is there for him to take that next step, however he hasn’t pitched above Double A ball, so some seasoning in Triple A should be expected.

With the Brewers in the market to add more starting pitching, Ortiz could also easily be the centerpiece to any deal. However, with The Crew not quite in contending mode, Milwaukee shouldn’t be too eager to move him.

Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns has got to be one of the luckiest GM’s in baseball right now. He has a minor league system that should rank in the Top 10, and an owner willing to spend money, setting up a very promising future.

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Ortiz will be part of that future. After opening this season in AAA, the only new team Ortiz should play for in 2018 is the Milwaukee Brewers. If he gets off to a good start Ortiz will make his MLB debut in the coming season, along with a slew of other minor leaguers throughout the season. However, Ortiz will have a lasting impact for the Brewers.

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