Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Abimelec Ortiz

Somewhere deep in the heart of Texas, the Texas Rangers are playing mad scientist in a lab. A little of this, a little of that, a dash of athleticism, a pinch of power, and in a flash we see the next super-star prospect being assembled before our eyes. In reality, there might be something in the water down in Texas, because everything the Rangers touch turns to gold nowadays. After just winning the World Series with the help of two top-notch rookies, the Rangers have another one on the cusp of debuting in Wyatt Langford, a high-rising youngster in Sebastian Walcott, and even Brock Porter looks like a stud in the making on the pitching side. Despite their embarrassment of riches, the Rangers used their prospect magic to turn a little-known, undrafted free agent out of Florida SouthWestern State College into one of the most sought-after power-hitting prospects. Abimelec Ortiz entered center stage in 2023 and flew up prospect lists.

Ortiz was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2021 after going undrafted. He began his minor league career with an assignment to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) as a 19-year-old. There, he would flash some tremendous power potential, as he belted 11 home runs in 40 games. His slash line was a mixed bag, however, sitting at .233/.419/.581. He showed an ability to get on base with good plate discipline, walking more than he struck out.

In 2022, following the stint in the DSL, Ortiz would be pushed to a more appropriate level for his age. He would start at Low-A ball, where he didn’t stand out much in any facet. In 94 games, he would hit his way to a slash line of .226/.308/.380, again with 11 home runs. In pretty much every way, his performance was worse at Low-A; his batting average dropped, his OBP cratered, and his power fell off by half. Even his plate discipline flipped against the more advanced pitching at Low-A compared to the DSL. He would strike out almost three times as much as he would walk, with 93 strikeouts to 32 walks. It just wasn’t a very good season and things needed to be changed. 

Coming into the offseason following 2022, he worked with Carlos Delgado and came out on fire in 2023, where he was repeating Low-A again. With an improved, shortened swing to increase contact, he mashed in 29 games to the tune of .307/.392/.604, with a .996 OPS, seven home runs, and seven doubles. He was making better contact and with increased frequency. This earned him a promotion to High-A, where he just kept dominating. In 80 games there, he would hit .290/.363/.624, for an OPS of .988 and 26 home runs. It was only in Low-A and High-A, but Ortiz was finally putting everything together and it was good enough to have the highest OPS in the minors for anyone under 25 years old (above Rookie ball). Concluding 2023, he spent 12 games in the Arizona Fall League, where he worked on his plate discipline. He ended the short time there walking more than he struck out again, which was a much-needed sight. For everything he did well in 2023, like his contact ability improving, his exit velocities making a significant bump up, and his power with contact profile taking shape, he struggled at times with strikeouts still. In Low-A, he struck out 29.8% of the time and it only dropped a little in High-A to 27%. The next evolutionary step up for Ortiz will be dropping the strikeout numbers and letting his power bat shine even more. 

Maybe the biggest improvement for Ortiz in 2023, was his increased exit velocities. The improved exit velocities, coupled with the natural loft in his swing made for a power-hitting extraordinaire. He went from a 43.7% ground ball rate in 2022 at Low-A, to 30.9% (Low-A) and 36.6% (High-A) in 2023. The increased exit velocities changed his high volume of line drives and fly balls into extra-base hits and showed the special power he has. If he continues to crush baseballs and hit them in the air, there is no limit for Ortiz. This offseason he has flown up prospect rankings, but is still undervalued in some arenas. Now is the time to acquire Ortiz, if he starts hot in 2024, we could be looking at the next top prospect on the verge of a major league call-up to the Texas Rangers. In all likelihood, he will be waiting until 2025 for his debut and when he does get into the big league lineup, he will be launching home runs for an already stacked offense. Get in now while there is still time before the Rangers can show off how their mad scientist skills created another top prospect. 

 

The Author

Daniel Labude

Daniel Labude

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