SDI Prospect Rankings – #5 Luis Ortiz

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We are exactly one week away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona and we finally crack into the Rangers Top 5 Prospects as ranked by our writers here at SDI.

2014 1st round pick Luis Ortiz leads off the group of five. Oritz was drafted right out of High School with the 30th pick of the 1st round and signed for $1.75 million – just under the slot value of $1.76 million. The Sanger, California native is listed at 6′-3″ 220 pounds and he looks every bit of it but there is a reason he is the 2nd best pitching prospect in the Rangers system.

Ortiz boasts three above average pitches – fastball, changeup and slider that all play well above his years. Baseball Prospectus rates each pitch at a 65/60/55 respectively with his fastball reaching the upper 90’s. One club told Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs that they would comp Oritz to the Marlins Jose Fernandez.

Take a step back. That is setting some very lofty expectations for the 20-year-old who hasn’t pitched above Low A ball yet.

Ortiz was having a stellar 2015 campaign out in Hickory before he was sidelined mid-season due to some shoulder issues. Posting an ERA of 1.80 and a FIP of 2.50, Lulu was 4-1 in 13 games with a 8.28 K/9 and a low 1.69 BB/9. As with all minor league players, stats can be deceiving and it’s more about their development than anything else. He did return and appear in three games in Hickory and six games in the Arizona Fall League but he looked out of shape.

Results will come with proper development. Talent and stuff has never been the issue with Oritz, it’s been his conditioning. Ortiz is a big guy, but had to drop nearly 40 pounds his junior year of high school to get down to a respectable 205. He currently appears to have put some of that back on as he is listed at 220. Some think that his conditioning issues may have contributed to his health issues in 2015.

There has been some rumblings that a current Rangers reliever has been working with Ortiz on a variety of things, most of them are not baseball related activities either. A successful Major League Player who has traveled the same road as Ortiz could be a good thing for the kid who mastered the mechanics of King Felix by practicing them in a mirror.

Where Ortiz starts this year remains up in the air. Missing time in Low A last year might suggest that he at least starts the year back in Hickory and with the indecisive cloud hanging over High Desert, Hickory makes the most sense for Ortiz. The Rangers may want to keep him out of High Desert altogether so a mid to late season promotion to AA Frisco might be in store too. That obviously all depends on how he pitches in Hickory.

Don’t expect to see Ortiz in Arlington anytime soon as his current ETA is 2018 at the very earliest. Until then, let’s enjoy his upper 90’s fastball and his stuff that plays beyond his years.

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Billy Casey
Billy is a baseball fanatic and has been around the game since he was four years old. The first ever game he attended was in September of '89 and Pete Incaviglia denied him an autograph after he had a bad batting practice session. Billy has held a grudge since. Billy is also a baseball coach who is known to dance around the dugout like Ron Washington during big plays in the game.

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