|Jhailyn Ortiz with Lakewood in 2018, image- Jay Floyd|
The powerful Dominican Republic native made his regular season pro debut as a member of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2016. In 47 games there, Ortiz batted .231 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.
In 2017 Ortiz was with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. He sported a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, a triple, eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 contests en route to an All-Star nod. His .961 OPS would have been good enough to lead the league if he has notched enough plate appearances to qualify.
In 2018 with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, as a 19-year-old, Ortiz notched a .225 batting average with 18 doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 47 RBI in 110 games.
In Ortiz’s first taste of a full-season league, a sluggish second half sandbagged his overall stats, as he would post a .258/.320/.399 slash line in the 1st half and a .202/.283/.360 slash line in the 2nd half.
Coaches have expressed that the right-handed batting Ortiz is a special talent with a very bright future. Hitting coach Tyler Henson told me after watching Ortiz play for more than five months in the South Atlantic League in 2018 that, “For me, he's got more ability than anybody in this league.”
Last season in 115 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Ortiz posted a .200 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs and 65 RBI.
Working on plate discipline will be key for Ortiz, as he’ll need to reduce his strike outs. At roughly a 30% strike out rate while drawing walks about 8% of the time in the minors, he has a lot of work ahead.
The Phillies expect Ortiz to develop a better understanding of how the opposition is trying to pitch to him and improve his ability to interpret the strike zone. Should that happen, then watch out! Ortiz reportedly underwent laser eye surgery over the 2018/2019 off-season, so the thinking was that improved vision would be evident at the plate, but his offensive numbers did not see any sort of jump start last season.
At roughly six-feet-three and 258 pounds, Ortiz is a hulking, strapping, young man that has power for days, but he'll need to take serious strides at this dish and avoid further regression in order to avoid having the "bust" label attached to him.
The energetic Ortiz, who will be 21 years old for the entirety of the 2020 season, is a quality defender with a very strong arm. Defensively, he played some center and left last year with the Threshers after having only played right field entering the 2019 campaign.
As a base runner, Ortiz will not be a regular stolen base threat, but he is quick-footed enough that he won't be a detriment to his club.
For me, he has not graduated out of the Florida State League, as far as development and maturity go, but I could see the Phillies pushing him to the Double-A level this season.
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