Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Prospects #41: Adrian Ortiz

#41 Adrian Ortiz

Age: 22
HT/WT: 6-0/172
Pos: CF
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted: 5th Round, pick 156 in 2007 Rule IV Draft
College: Pepperdine University
ETA: 2012

2008 Accolades: Midseason Midwest League All-Star

Adrian Ortiz is an example of the current administration's push to acquire more athleticism in the system. Ortiz is one of several fleet footed outfielder that the Royals have acquired that have some tools, but have had issues swinging the bat. It had not always been this way for Ortiz however. Entering the 2009 season Ortiz had posted a career minor league slash line of .314/.346/.381 and while the slugging percentage wasn't there the on base percentage was slightly above average and when you are talking about a guy who has the type of speed that Ortiz had this was be a major asset for a ball club.

Unfortunately as you can see above Ortiz struggled to hit in the wretched confines of Wilmington's Frawley Stadium. A park that is considered by many to be the harshest park on hitters in the entire minor leagues. Ortiz is not the first hitter to have been shamed by Frawley's dimensions and thick sea air, but after a season like the one he just put together it would be hard to justify ranking him much higher on this list. Especially when one considers that even after a demotion to the Midwest League Ortiz wasn't able to rekindle that hot bat that he had in 2008.

By all accounts Ortiz is an above average fielder and should progress into at least a league average centerfielder with an above average and accurate arm. But Ortiz's best strength is his speeds which to put it in scouting terms is a true 80 on the 20-80 scale. In 2008, Ortiz used the speed often slapping the ball to the third base side and legging out grounders to first. However, as he moves through the minor league system this ability is going to dwindle as defenses and the pitching against him improve. Ortiz is going to need to improve his plate discipline and his putrid walk rate. Only then will he be able to really take advantage of his speed and begin stealing bases.

The upcoming season is going to be very important for Adrian Ortiz. He could either be given another shot in Wilmington at redemption or he could be sent back to the Midwest League in the hopes that he can get back some of that contact ability. Either way it will be extremely important that he puts on a better display in this go around or else he will be moving the wrong way on the prospect charts.

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