Luz Portobanco

From BR Bullpen

Luz Portobanco

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 205 lb.

Minors.BR page

Luz Portobanco pitched in the minor leagues for 7 seasons. His uncle Heberto Portobanco was a notable manager in Nicaragua and uncle Joaquin Portobanco played for Nicaragua's national team.

Portobanco was born in Nicaragua and played college ball in the US. He was picked by the New York Mets in the 36th round of the 2000 amateur draft and he was the latest pick that they signed from that draft. Luz debuted with the Kingsport Mets, going 3-3 with a 4.89 ERA in 16 outings in 2000.

In 2001, Portobanco had a great year for the Brooklyn Cyclones, posting a 5-3, 2.04 record and .209 opponent average in 13 games (12 starts). He lost his lone start with the Capital City Bombers. The lone negative was 13 hit batsmen, the highest total in the New York-Penn League. As he walked 29 in 71 innings, his control was not bad, indicating he likely working the inside part of the plate. Portobanco finished 7th in the New York-Penn League in ERA.

The right-hander did a 180-degree turn for 2002, struggling for Brooklyn (0-1, 6.00), Capital City (4-5, 5.59, .334 opponent average in 17 starts) and the St. Lucie Mets (0-2, 8.18). Portobanco spent 2003 with St. Lucie, where he was 2-5 with a save and a 5.69 ERA in 16 games, faring better if not nearly up to his 2001 performance.

In 2004, Portobanco pitched primarily out of the bullpen for the first time since his rookie season. He went 1-3 in 34 games (2 starts) for St. Lucie, posting a 3.77 ERA as one of their more reliable relief pitchers. The Nicaraguan made his AA debut in 2005 with the Binghamton Mets, where he was 2-12 with a 7.56 ERA and 2 saves in 40 games (7 starts). He led all Mets farmhands in losses. Opponents hit .325 against him. He was two losses shy of the Eastern League lead.

Portobanco only pitched two games for Binghamton in 2006, allowing one run, 3 walks and no hits in 3 innings to conclude his minor league career.

He pitched for his country in the 2007 Pan American Games, being their only hurler to pitch two games in that event. He was 0-1 with a 5.29 ERA, allowing 7 hits and 3 walks in 5 1/3 IP. He took the loss against Team USA, when he did not last through the first inning and was beaten by Lance Lynn.

In 2008, Portobanco tragically died when he lost control of his car, which crashed into a bridge and fell to the river below. He was only 28 years old.