Phillies prospect Jhailyn Ortiz had unheralded success in 2017

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 10: A general view of Citizens Bank Park as the sunsets in the bottom of the third inning of the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on August 10, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 10: A general view of Citizens Bank Park as the sunsets in the bottom of the third inning of the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on August 10, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Phillies prospect Jhailyn Ortiz’s strong season in 2017 was overshadowed by other players higher up in the system, but he has the makings of a strong player.

If you ask Phillies fans who some of the best prospects in the farm system are, you will hear a lot of people say Sixto Sanchez, Mickey Moniak, Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, or Jorge Alfaro. Before they graduated to the majors some might even say Rhys Hoskins or Nick Williams.

However, if you ask director of player development Joe Jordan who he thinks has the most potential, he won’t say any of those names. Instead, when asked by Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, Jordan said he thinks Jhaiyln Ortiz has the highest ceiling of them all:

"“If you put every player in our system on a board and say every one of them gets to their potential, this guy would arguably be the best player,” Jordan said. “He has that kind of ability.”"

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Ortiz’s name isn’t very well-known outside of those who follow the farm system closely. He only signed with the team in 2015 at 16 years old for $4.2 million. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League last year and hit for plenty of power, but he wasn’t great in many other aspects.

Fast forward to this year and Jhailyn Ortiz took a huge step forward in his development despite being just 18 years old in a league filled with 21 and 22-year-olds.

At three years younger than the average player in the New York-Penn League, Ortiz had a .302/.401/.560 line with eight home runs, 24 extra-base hits, and 30 RBI in 47 games.

What was even more impressive about Ortiz’s season was the fact that he did it all with decent plate discipline. He did strike out in 25.1 percent of his plate appearances, but he balanced that out with a 9.6 percent walk rate. Besides, if he has a slugging percentage well above .500, no one is going to care about his strikeout rate.

Jordan pointed out this development in Ortiz’s plate discipline and pitch recognition, calling him a “hitter with power.” Salisbury made note of this fact, comparing Ortiz to Hoskins, another “hitter with power” in his eyes:

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"Notice Jordan used the phrase “hitter with power” rather than “power hitter.” The same could be said of Hoskins, who has clearly shown he’s got a ton of pop but doesn’t approach each at-bat by looking to hit a home run. Hoskins recognizes pitches, works counts and makes adjustments. Ortiz is building that skill set as well."

Normally, it takes hitters several years in the minor-leagues to really hone this skill. If Ortiz is already doing it as his young age, he is poised to be a very dangerous hitter.

Despite having such a strong season this year, we didn’t hear much about Ortiz because of everyone at the higher levels doing well. With Hoskins and Kingery dominating throughout the year, people were much more intrigued about them compared to an 18-year-old still in short-season ball. Ortiz will have to continue to hit like this in full-season action to garner more attention.

Next: Phillies 2017 season grade: SP Ben Lively

If Ortiz is making all these strides this quickly, he could fulfill much of his potential that Jordan alluded to and catapult himself to the top of the team’s prospect rankings.

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