SDI Prospect Rankings: #7 Luis Ortiz

As we continue SDI’s Prospect countdown, we come to the youngest and newest member on our list of farm hands, one Luis “LuLu” Ortiz. Drafted in the first round (30th overall) in 2014, Luis was highly regarded by Baseball America as the publication had him ranked 28th overall on their draft board. Keith Law thinks very highly of Luis, ranking him 10th on his 2014 draft board, and currently slots him 96th on his 2015 MLB Prospect rankings. For now, we have him seventh in the Texas system.

Past Prospects written up include:

#10 Ryan Rua
#9 Luke Jackson
#8 Lewis Brinson

Coming straight out of high school in Sanger, California. This 6’3” 220 pound right-hander really impresses in many areas. Luis first appeared on the map back at age 17 during his junior year of high school when he was on the 18 and under USA national baseball team. That club won a gold medal, and Luis closed out the gold winning game against Japan. He also pitched in the 2013 Perfect Game All-American Classic, which is quite a big event. Unfortunately for Luis, he missed a big portion of his senior year of high school due to forearm soreness. Though he did return for the final month to display his dominance, many believe it was the injury that was concern for most clubs and caused him to slip all the way to 30th overall. If that’s the case, credit Kipp Fagg and Butch Metzger for believing in his ability and pulling the trigger.

One of the best areas in Luis’ game that scouts love, and has us fans excited, is his super clean mechanics. He has a strong thick frame that should allow him to handle the workload necessary for 180 plus innings. His delivery is very repeatable. Just watching video of him throw, you see it after a few pitches as he often finishes in the same spot. This means one can expect his command to be on point more often than not. The clean mechanics with his ¾ arm slot should also alleviate concerns about shoulder issues in the future.

Luis’s best pitch is his fastball. It sits routinely in the 92-94 range and he has the ability to crank it up to 96 if need be. The heater has some good life on it with consistent downhill plane, meaning he likes to work down in the zone with it. He will sometimes miss high, but he shows good command for the most part for a pitcher in the early stages of his career. Scouts have it as a potential plus- plus offering.

LuLu’s slider is his out pitch. It appears to be a plus pitch with sharp bite to it that will sit anywhere from 82-86 mph. Most feel it’s already very advanced for such a young age, and should compliment his fastball very well.

His third and most important pitch is his change-up. He didn’t have to use it often in high school, but it sits in the low 80s and has some fade to it. Some scouts feel it has good enough potential. Luis will need to work on this if he wants to be a starter capable of getting outs two and three times through an order.

Luis is very calm and cool on the mound with has a demeanor that you don’t find everyday. One thing that is interesting is that he did not have a real pitching coach growing up. He just modeled himself after the great Felix Hernandez, and simply tries to emulate him. His delivery is a bit similar to the King Felix, but that’s about it. (Certainly doesn’t have Felix’s change-up) Luis also worked out with Matt Garza in an off-season to shed about 30 pounds after high school. He considers Garza like a brother. If Luis ends up being a pitcher with a career trajectory similar to that, then you will take that from your 30th overall pick all day long.

Ortiz spent time at Low-A Hickory towards the end of 2014 a few months after being signed, so that should be pretty telling of his ability. He pitched 20 innings combined between Hickory and the Arizona rookie league, racking up a solid 8.4 K/9 and 1.08 WHIP. While admittedly a small sample of success, it is still nice to see that he was not over matched and performed well even after a short senior year of pitching in high school. I expect that he will begin, and stay at Low-A for most of 2015, if not all of it. Texas will not want to have their prized first rounder in the California League (High-A) for more than a few starts. If all goes well, his MLB ETA should have him seen in Arlington sometime in 2018 (Law thinks he could in Arlington in 2016). I am really looking forward to seeing him hone his craft at Frisco likely late in 2016. Though if JD and company wants it to be a little sooner, I certainly will not complain. He has the upside to be a very nice middle of the rotation pitcher for years to come. If he masters that changeup, we very well could be looking at a big time stud.

Austin Dietz
I'm just a local Dallas kid that enjoys baseball, craft beer, and using my best hitter second. I'm a co-host of the 20 Grade Podcast.

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