Mid-Season Dirty Thirty-Five: Prospect #19

Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.


All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.


All write-ups were published during all-star week.



Prospect #20: RHP Johan Oviedo


Springfield Cardinals

Signed as an International Free Agent in July of 2016

Age 21



It took Oviedo a little time to get going during the 2018 season, but there weren't too many pitchers in the organization that were as effective as he was in the second-half of that season. So, it wasn't that big of a surprise when Oviedo came out guns-a-blazing in the pitching-friendly Florida State League to start the 2019 season. Over 33.2 innings at Palm Beach, Oviedo held hitters to a batting average against of .230 while only allowing two extra-base hits: one home run and one double. That's a lot of soft contact.

It seemed a little early for a promotion, but injuries at Memphis and Springfield allowed for Oviedo's promotion to Springfield just six appearances into the 2019 season. Since arriving at AA, it's been a rocky-go for him. Where Oviedo was having success at Palm Beach and Peoria in 2018, was in getting hitter's to chase his fastball up in the zone, and the breaking pitch in the lower-half of the zone. As you might expect from Double-A hitters, there isn't much in the way of the chasing of those pitches early in counts, and that's hurting Oviedo.

Aside from this, command is the big issue with Oviedo. It has been since he found his way out of the rookie leagues. He's walked 30 in 54+ innings at the AA level. He's often working from behind, and that's really worked against him. It's hard to get a hitter to chase when they are often ahead in the count. Oviedo has also worked mostly in the mid-to-low 90's from what I understand, and maintained velocity has always been one of the concerns with him.

The other thing that I've seen a lot out of Oviedo is a curveball that doesn't do what he wants it to do all of the time. Often times, it goes flat and doesn't break. It's a pitch that has the ability to be a well above-average pitch with consistency, but it's inconsistent more often than not.

I do really like Oviedo's change-up. It's a bit of an unheralded pitch, but it, too, needs more consistency. Obviously, "consistency" is going to be the magic word moving forward in regards to Oviedo and potential success. Here's what happens when he's using it well with the fastball. Th gif below is a three-pitch mix. The first pitch is a fastball that he blows by the hitter. He was really dealing this day, and his fastball stayed in the mid-90's throughout the entire start. He follows that up with a fastball that the hitter fouls off because it gets too much of the plate. On the next pitch, with the runner going, Oviedo drops the change on the outside corner:

With all of that in mind, sometimes Johan looks DYNAMIC. When it's clicking, and he's throwing everything from the same slot without slowing down his arm, and it's doing what he wants, he profiles as a mid-rotation arm. More often than not, without more consistency, this is a pipe dream. He is only 21, so there's plenty of time for him to find it. If I had to hedge my bets, Oviedo probably profiles as more of a dynamic bullpen arm in the future, based on what he's shown - more often than not - thus far in his career. But if he takes that next step in his development, then he's going to be a very good starting pitcher.

Oviedo is coming off of his best start, in my opinion, since receiving the promotion to Springfield. And here I am, wondering if he's about to repeat his second-half performance in 2018.


UPDATE:

Oviedo has really put it together over his last eight starts at Springfield. His ERA in 42.2 IP is 3.38, and he's struck out 49. The batting average against is right around .200. If you want to boil it down even further, he has an ERA of 3.12 over his last six starts. In those 34.2 innings, Oviedo has struck out 38 while allowing an batting average against of .198. This young man is really coming into his own. He's still walking too many people, and that's a part of his game that needs cleaning up.

Thanks to Fangraph for the stats!


Thanks For Reading!!

Kyle Reis