The Pittsburgh Pirates will start right-handed pitching prospect Osvaldo Bido against the Cubs on Wednesday night, with Bido making his MLB debut.
Bido has always carried that sleeper tag on this site. Originally a low key international signing at age 21, he entered the game with the ability to hit mid-90s. Consistent mid-90s velocity is now one of his strengths, paired with a slider that can generate swing and miss.
This year in Triple-A, Bido has a 4.55 ERA in 55.1 innings, with a 56:26 K/BB ratio. He’s mostly worked out of the rotation, and will get the start tonight in place of Roansy Contreras.
To get a feel for what to expect from Bido — both tonight and in his MLB career — I asked the Pirates Prospects writers for their views on his upside.
Bido has always been an intriguing pitcher who lacks consistency. It’s hard to expect anything else from him in the majors at this point due to his age and experience. I was told that he has improved his slider this year, but we are still seeing the same pitcher that we have always seen. He can dominate on any given date, or need 80 pitches to get through four innings due to his control. When he’s on, he is mixing all of his pitches well, showing excellent mid-90s velocity and a variety of off-speed pitches that keeps hitters guessing.
I don’t expect him to solve any short-term or long-term rotation issue for the Pirates. His debut could earn him another start, or it could quickly fall apart if the control is off against better hitters. Regardless of what you get in the first game, the latter type of start will show up more often than you want to see from a regular in the rotation. I think he’s eventually going to settle into a middle relief role, where he can focus on his best pitches and not hold back on the velocity just to go deeper in games. A solid middle reliever is his upside, while his current role as a depth option is his floor.
The big question with Bido is always, Which Bido are you going to get? When he’s on, he can be dominant. When he’s not, which is generally a question whether his command is there or not, he’s prone to meltdown. In 2022, from May through July, he had a 6.15 ERA. In August and September, 3.09. This year, in his seven “good” games, his ERA was 1.29. In his five . . . uh . . . not-so-good games, it was 10.18. So that raises the risk of a very short outing. Or, you could get a Max-Kranick-like five perfect innings.
Bido mainly throws a fastball and slider. He has a change, but you won’t see it much. The fastball sits in the mid-90s and gets enough movement that he’ll miss bats with it. In fact, he’s about as likely to do that as with the slider. Since he got to Triple-A, he’s kept his K rate above 9.0, but unfortunately his walk rate has been in the range of 4-5 per nine.
Bido’s long-term and short-term outlook are pretty much the same thing. He’s 27 now, so it’s highly likely that what you see is what you get. His future is almost certainly as starting depth. With a little luck and some magic Oscar Marin dust, the Pirates could get a good run of starts from him, both now and in future big league stints. The bullpen is probably not a likely outcome. The Pirates tried him for a bit in relief last year and the results were nearly identical to his performance as a starter. He has more value as a guy who could give them 5-6 innings every fifth day for a couple weeks or a couple months, when there’s a need.
I think the best case for Bido in the majors is just to eat innings until they play out whatever plan they have for Roansy Contreras. Obviously the hope is that he keeps the team competitive, but really at this point with the team’s depth continuing to thin when it comes to starting pitching, they just need him to eat as many innings as possible so they don’t completely burn down the bullpen.
There is something I thought of, that potentially they could use Bido as an opener/piggyback for Contreras, allowing him to work on some things in shorter outings, but we will have to wait and see how the plan plays out to know for sure.
At that point though, it would probably be better just to keep Contreras in the rotation then.
As far as long-term, Bido does interest me slightly as a potential reliever, especially seeing he’s starting to strikeout more in the upper levels. In the end, he’s probably a guy that at-best, comes back and forth as more of a AAAA type.
Bido has been quite enjoyable to watch over the last year and a half in the Indianapolis rotation and I am very glad to see him get the opportunity to see his hard work pay off with a big league start. He is clearly a popular player in the clubhouse and has shown improved velocity on his fastball since arriving. He’s also been very consistent over his time with Indianapolis. That said, this will likely be a short term visit. Bido is a nice rotation depth option, particularly with the high amount of injuries in that space this year, but likely has the upside of a long relief type role.
What I like most about Osvaldo Bido is his fastball. He’ll sit mid-90’s and push it up to 97 MPH. When he’s pinpointing his fastball, he is a very difficult pitcher for batters to square up.
We can look at Bido’s most recent two starts in Triple-A to see how his effectiveness is tied to his fastball.
On June 3rd, against the Toledo Mud Hens, Bido went seven innings with zero walks and seven strike outs. He threw 38 fastballs, generating 23 swings with seven whiffs. Of the eight balls put in play, they had an average exit velocity of 83.3 MPH.
In his next start against the Omaha Storm Chasers on June 8th, he threw 31 fastballs, generating 14 swings with only four whiffs. Five balls were put in play with an average exit velocity of 90.2 MPH. That start he gave up five earned runs along with five walks over 4.1 innings.
Bido’s best secondary pitch is his slider. In the same two starts, he threw 29 sliders against the Mud Hens with three whiffs, while tossing 44 against Omaha invoking eight whiffs. He also has a sinker and changeup, that he’ll use each around 10%-15% of the time, but he’s another generally fastball-slider heavy pitcher.
With all that said, I think the best short-term expectations is a spot starter that may give up a couple runs, but should be able to keep it close for 4-5 innings. If the fastball location is off, it could be a longer day.
This is also why I think in the long-term, if Bido were to carve out a role with the Pirates organization, it would be as a long reliever. He has the ability to pitch for length, but asking him to go through an order two times, let alone three, could be a tall task. I don’t think it’d be out of question that he could become a later inning reliever, maybe even pushing his velocity to 98-99. Again, if he’s spotting his fastball, he’s VERY hard to hit.
On May 13th against the Baltimore Orioles, Roansy Contreras pitched seven innings, allowing two earned runs. A month later, he’s out of the rotation for Osvaldo Bido. If I had to pick a long-term starter between the two, it’s absolutely Contreras. The problem with Contreras right now is his start against Baltimore is looking like the exception.
Bido looks like a potential swingman type guy. He could start in the majors, but if you’re expecting seven innings from him, you’re probably going to be disappointed. He can pitch in relief with the ability to hit upper 90s and a nice slider. If you’re hoping for another lights out reliever, he hasn’t shown that profile yet.
The Pirates could get creative with both players and aim for seven innings combined. In the four appearances that Contreras has pitched since the Baltimore outing, the Pirates have averaged three pitchers used for the first seven innings. That average could have been worse, had it not been for a few good outings from Luis Ortiz to save the bullpen.
I think that’s a good target for the Pirates today. If Bido, Contreras, and one other pitcher can get the team through seven innings — ideally while winning — they could give the team a chance to win, without blowing up the bullpen. Bido would need to fill that 4-5 inning role, similar to the May 28th outing when Ortiz started and went five, followed by two innings of relief from Contreras. Bido could stick in the majors long-term with such a role. He’d have more value if he could develop in one steady direction — either shutdown stuff in one inning, or more consistency and reliability over the long run. His appearance in the majors will at the very least give him some feedback on what he needs to work on to take one of those paths.