No. 19: Outfielder Jhaiyln Ortiz
Jhaiyln Ortiz was one of the biggest names in the international market in the 2015 signing period. Teams saw video of the then-16 year old Ortiz destroying baseballs and instantly started dreaming. The Phillies and Ortiz agreed to a $4 million bonus months before the July 2 deadline.
At the time, Ortiz was a big kid at 6’2 260 pounds with an equally big bat. He came into camp this year another inch taller and much skinnier at 215 pounds according to his listing on MiLB.com. Ortiz retained his strength while showing much more athleticism.
Ortiz’s trademark is his big raw power, which is easily plus and could be even higher. He hit eight home runs with the GCL Phillies this season in his stateside debut.
Overall, Ortiz is raw but has legitimate potential at the plate. He has the aforementioned power but he can struggle with his approach. He walked 8.6% of the time but he also struck out in 26.9% of his plate appearances. Pitchers can take advantage of Ortiz with offspeed pitches, so that is one of his bigger hurdles in his development.
Seeing how big Ortiz was this time last year, nearly everybody expected Ortiz to be a first baseman sooner or later. He was still athletic at the time, but he couldn’t move much. Now that he lost so much weight, he is actually a surprisingly decent runner. He manned right field for the GCL Phillies and made just three errors in 255.2 innings there. While some still foresee a move to first base in the future, Ortiz earned another chance there next year.
Ortiz’s development will hinge on his approach at the plate. If he learns how to handle offspeed pitches, he could become a real threat in the middle of the order. Considering he will be just 18 next season, Ortiz may spend another year in the GCL unless the team sees major strides in his development between now and next June.