Pittsburgh Pirates: Results Don't Matter For Luis Oviedo, Only Repetition
While the results wasn't what you would have hoped, Monday night's contest against the San Diego Padres went beyond wins and losses.
Before the season started, I tried to come up with my own type of season preview. Something a little bit different.
The idea was to highlight three different things I was looking forward to when it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 season.
Watching Ke'Bryan Hayes' rookie season unfold was an easy answer. While the team has provided some thrills without Hayes in the lineup, it's a no-brainer that they a far better team with him in the lineup than sitting in the dugout.
After that, the fact that the Pirates were selecting first overall again this season was something I was looking forward too. I remember the build up for the first overall pick where they ended up taking Gerrit Cole.
That was actually got me into writing. As a way to keep up to date with who the Pirates might take first overall.
So the fact the Pirates are selecting first overall, and how big of a deal that is with for an organization trying to rebuild, was lost on me and had me excited for the process to unfold.
But I couldn't find a third thing to get excited for. I sat and thought about it. Pushed it to the side to give me more time to think about it, until life happened and it got too late and the idea got scrapped all together.
Now I'm not saying after 4 2/3 innings I'm ready to put Luis Oviedo on that kind of pedestal, with the preseason front runner for NL Rookie of the Year, or the potential franchise altering prospect they take first overall - but if I could go back and do it all over knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have a problem finishing that preview.
So, it wasn't the ideal outing for Oviedo. It was far from it. He got pegged with the loss after going 1 2/3 innings, getting roughed up pretty good in the process.
That doesn't matter to me.
Either does any of the rest of the numbers he puts up the remainder of the season. There is only one number that I want to see.
Innings pitched. The more the better.
This is a 21-year old rookie that should be pitching in Double-A right now. He should be pitching in AA mainly because he has yet to pitch at any level higher than Class-A.
The last time he pitched in the states was 2019, where he was nearly two years younger than the average pitcher in Class-A.
This is the same kid who throws an upper-90s fastball with an improving breaking ball (hasn't pitched above Class-A, remember?).
It's also the kid that produced six swing and misses in two innings of work against a team that spent three days hitting the ball almost at will against the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates' pitching staff. He also caused ten swing and misses in his first two outings, a rate of over 20%. Heading into his most recent outing, Oviedo ranked in the top ten in swing-and-miss percentage.
It's the kid that, at 21-years old and with only 258 2/3 innings of minor league experience, Derek Shelton put into the game (planned or not), that was tied at the time, against one of the best teams in all off baseball.
Now, I've watched a lot of losing baseball in my life. A lot of 'rebuilding' situations. Grabbing a kid in the Rule-5 usually meant you'd stash him in the back of the bullpen, get him out there during a blowout and then toss him back in the minors the following season.
No, this time around, they have found a power pitching arm they are so excited about they are not only using him - but doing so in high-leverage situations.
The Pirates had the lead when they put Oviedo in last week. It was a tie ball game on Monday.
He's been taken deep in each of his last two appearances, which is going to happen - remember, he's 21-years old with no experience above Class-A ball - but he's being allowed to learn how to pitch on the fly.
And not every now and again, no, they are willing to sacrifice a couple of wins in order to let him learn how to pitch, against the best of the best.
Maybe Oviedo isn't what I'm excited for now, but he could very well represent it.
That this time around, and I know it's been said before, they are trying to do things the right way, and the tough seasons up ahead will be worth it when it's all said and done.
What has been your impressions of Oviedo in three outings? Do you see him as a potential starter, or hard-throwing bullpen arm? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on twitter @AJ_Murfy.