Player: Luis Ortiz
DOB: 09/22/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205 lbs
School: Sanger HS (Calif.)
College Commitment: Fresno State
Luis Ortiz emerged as a can’t-miss draft prospect after his junior year, as the right-hander opened eyes on the summer showcase circuit while pitching in prestigious, high-profile events such as the Area Code Games and Perfect Game All-American Classic. Ortiz also served as the closer that summer for the USA 18u National Team, where he recorded three saves including the Gold Medal game against Japan to clinch the IBF World Cup.
Suffice it to say expectations were lofty for Ortiz entering his senior year at Sanger High School, as many organization’s had him pegged as a potential first-round draft pick. Unfortunately, the right-hander was held out of action for most of the season after experiencing forearm tightness early in the spring, thus putting his draft status in jeopardy.
However, Ortiz proved the once-concerning injury was no longer an issue in the month leading up to the draft, as he returned to the mound to showcase his usual outstanding stuff in pre-draft workouts for various MLB teams.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
6’3”, 205-pound right-hander has thick frame and strong lower half; durable build lacks projection but should help him handle heavier workloads as a professional; delivery is clean and repeatable and incorporates good use of legs and core; works from consistent three-quarters arm slot; shed roughly 30 pounds over the last year and will need to watch his weight carefully for duration of his career.
Ortiz’s fastball sits 92-95 mph with good life and arm-side run; has shown ability to reach back for 96-97; consistent downhill plane gives the pitch natural weight and helps it enter the hitting zone on a steep angle; goes through bouts of where he works up in the zone too often.
Breaking ball is presently an average offering and flashes plus (possibly plus-plus) potential; dominant, swing-and-miss offering at 81-86 mph with two-plane break and late, sharp bite; complements his fastball well and should serve as his out pitch at the next level; exhibits an advanced feel for the pitch; also developing a curveball in the mid-70s with good vertical shape.
Ortiz’s changeup comes in anywhere from 82-86 mph and features almost cutter-like movement; will likely be adjusted as a professional so as to generate fading action away from left-handed batters; good present feel for pitch.
His feel for deep arsenal and ability to execute pitches is highly impressive for a young power pitcher; consistently around the zone with two present plus pitches (fastball/slider); throws lots of strikes and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters in the zone; understands how to get ahead in the count without obvious sequencing.
Commands fastball effectively to both sides of the plate, which in turn sets up his secondary offerings; effortless mechanics and clean arm action make him prone to pitching down in the zone, though he’ll struggle at times on that front like any prep hurler; command profile of four-pitch mix projects favorable in the middle of a big league rotation.
MLB Player Comparison: Carlos Zambrano
Ortiz receives Carlos Zambrano comparisons due to his impressive athleticism in spite of a thicker body type, explosive delivery and outstanding arm strength and overall potential as a four-pitch strike thrower.
Projection: No. 2 or 3 starter
Major Leagues ETA: Early 2017
Chances of Signing: 80 percent
Whether or not Ortiz signs this year will depend on where he’s drafted—which will be influenced by his potential suitors’ opinions about his spring elbow injury. There’s no question that the right-hander’s combination of stuff and command is worthy of a first-round flier; however, considering the other arms in this year’s class, it wouldn’t surprise me if he lasts longer than expected on Day 1 of the draft.