11/14/22 : Eyes & Ears
The hot stove season has begun to heat up and the rumors are flying like can of corn pop ups across the diamond. It’s intriguing and a big part of being a baseball fan to speculate how our clubs might transact to alter their rosters going into the next season. Some teams are cost conscious while others are more free spending yet for any organization it’s about finding the players who can fit into the organization mantra and help the team win.
Last week the Phillies added two relief pitchers to their 40 man roster via waiver claims - both from the Giants. Right hander Luis Ortiz is a big arm type who’s 27 years old and grew up in California. He was a summer league teammate of Connor Brogdon in their younger days. Ortiz was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft out of Sanger High School in California, located east of Fresno. He features a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and sinker. As primarily a reliever the past two seasons he’s focused on two pitches - the four-seamer, which sits in the mid-90s and slider.
He’s already been with four organizations, the Rangers, Brewers, Orioles and Giants and prior to the 2021 season was used predominantly as a starter ( 90 out of 103 appearances ). He made 35 appearances for AAA Sacramento in 2022 - just 4 as a starter and 6 big league appearances - all out of the bullpen. It’s likely he’s seen as a bullpen option by the Phillies however he could perhaps slot into a depth role as a starter at Lehigh Valley or compete for a rotation spot in spring training.
The other waiver claim was left hander Andrew Vasquez. One of the key traits of winning organizations is the recognition of a players strength and building upon it. A 6'6'' lefty, Vasquez primarily relies on an excellent curveball that works between 78-82 mph. He also has a high-80s to low 90’s sinker to keep hitters off balance but his curveball can be a plus-plus dominate pitch, it has been in minor league play. It’s the pitch that will push him to the show if he gets there. Vasquez is 29 years old and has previously been with the Twins, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Giants organizations. He has also spent prior time with the Phillies, they claimed him off waivers before from the Jays on August 2nd - he appeared in 4 games with Lehigh Valley but was waived when the Phillies needed a 40 man roster spot and was then claimed by the Giants. He’s appeared in 22 big league games over four seasons beginning in 2018 and pitched very well at the AAA level last year ( 2.23 ERA in 29 games - 32 1/3 IP - 44 K’s and just 8 walks ). He pitches backwards as some old school types might say - the curve ball is his primary pitch supplemented by the fastball - playing up his best offering.
Just a bit more intel on the two most recent Phillies acquisitions - the stove is hot so there’s certainly more things cooking🤓. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️