BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When asked if it seemed like he couldn't catch a break last year, all Luis Ortiz could do was smile.
"No, not at all," the Shuckers right-handed pitcher said.
As the fifth-ranked prospect in the Brewers' system, Ortiz carries the same promise this season as he did in the last - just, hopefully, with better results this time around. Early on in 2017, Ortiz starting living up to the high hopes of Milwaukee's management, going 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA in his first eleven starts with the Shuckers. But then, injuries struck.
"It was really tough," Ortiz said of last season. "Coming back from a hamstring injury (that) wasn't fully recovered on my end, for not keeping the honest truth with the trainer on it. And then, my son getting me sick was even worse, so, it was a season where it just all went downhill."
A nagging hamstring and a bout with hand-foot-and-mouth disease from his son derailed his 2017 campaign, finishing 4-7 with a 4.01 ERA.
But, the 30th overall pick in the 2014 draft isn't looking back. Instead, he's moving forward.
"It was a season to get out the books," Ortiz said. "We're all gonna have seasons where there's gonna be injuries, a bad year, anything. Just gotta flip the page and (say) let's go, let's roll."
So far, he's doing just that. Taking the lead-off spot in the Shuckers' 2018 pitching rotation, Ortiz is off to a strong start, boasting 10 strikeouts and a 1.64 ERA in two appearances, earning a victory in the Shuckers' home opening-win over Mississippi.
It's further proof that his talent was never the question. Now Ortiz just looks to put everything together and keep climbing the Minor League ranks.
"For me, it's staying healthy," Ortiz said. "Pitching is what got me drafted, what I do, I'm talented. It's just mainly the skill level, meeting the requirements on that."