Russ Ortiz hasn't been the best R. Ortiz in camp, but he has pitched well this spring, vying for the fifth starter job on the Dodgers:
Still, we are talking about 15 spring innings, versus a growing body of work that suggests Ortiz is simply not an effective pitcher, or at least has not been since 2004. When he was signed in January, I Iooked back at his last five years:
Russ Ortiz, who turns 36 in June, has not had an ERA under 5.51 since 2004. From the beginning of the 2005 season, there have been 373 different pitchers to throw at least 200 innings. Ortiz has the worst ERA (6.56), worst adjusted ERA (67), and worst OPS against (.916) of the bunch. Over that span, Ortiz has walked 5.0 batters per nine innings while striking out just 5.2 batters per nine. Only Steve Trachsel has a worse strikeout-to-walk ratio than than Ortiz during that time. Ortiz has been so bad that his 4.61 FIP and 4.64 x-FIP last season counts as a massive improvement, as they were his best marks in five seasons.
Ortiz has not had a good season since 2004 with the Braves. He signed a four-year, $33 million contract with Arizona that offseason, but spend the next three seasons battling injuries and ineffectiveness. He was released by the Diamondbacks in June 2006 after just a season and a half, with almost $22 million remaining on the contract. Ortiz also missed all of 2008 after Tommy John surgery.
The Dodgers were the only team to offer Ortiz a contract this winter, per Vincent Bonsignore of the LA Daily News. It would be a nice comeback story if Ortiz was able to comeback and be an effective pitcher, but if Ortiz does in fact make the club, history suggests he will not pitch well.
Ortiz was a member of the 1994 College World Series champion Oklahoma Sooners.
Ortiz signed a minor league deal that will pay him $650,000 if he makes the team, with up to $1.05 million in incentives based on starts, or $150,000 based on relief appearances.
||34||Out for season - Tommy John Surgery|
|2010 Projections - Age 36 Season|
|Thanks to FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com|
With the news that the club will likely start the season with an 11-man pitching staff, and that fellow non-roster pitcher Jeff Weaver may have already made the team, I think Ortiz will get squeezed out by the roster crunch. I am predicting zero innings this year for Ortiz.
What is your guess for Russ Ortiz in 2010? Give us a prediction of ERA, WHIP, and innings.