Jhailyn Ortiz, RF/1B
6’3″, 215 lb
Signed as an international amateur in July 2015
Teams Played For: Williamsport (NY-Penn League/Short Season A)
Dates Seen: 7/7-7/9
Eyewitness Stats: 4/11, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB, BB, 3 K, HBP
What the Numbers Say
Williamsport (Short Season A): 47 G, 187 PA, .302/401/.560, 9 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 27 R, 5/6 SB, 9.6% BB, 25.1% K, 9 HBP, 185 wRC+
Fielding (as RF): 42 G, 352 total innings, 61 total chances, two assists, three errors, .951 fielding percentage
Jhailyn statistically had a much more consistent season than in his first taste of pro ball in 2016 in the GCL. Some of this can be attributed to having a bit more luck of ball in play from last year, when his BABIP was .286. This year he hit .381 on balls in play. This doesn’t mean his season was luckier, as I will explain later on. A lot of his other numbers had marginal improvements in the same number of games but ten fewer plate appearances. His K rate dropped nearly 2% while his walk rate increased by 1%. He collected eight more hits, where six of those were doubles.
A brief June was really where Jhailyn struggled in terms of just putting the ball in play, hitting just .196 in 35 PA while still maintaining a .400 OBP. From July to the end of the season he posted a .323/.401/.579 line in 152 PA. What was encouraging was that he hit .323 in his final 19 games while only reaching base by BB/HBP just five times (In the previous 28, he had 22 BB/HBP).
I mentioned these very similar numbers before in the Williamsport recap but here’s a quick peek at Jhailyn’s improved consistency from last season:
2016) 1st 20 games: 89 PA, .312/.404/.623, 6 HR, 11 XBH, 17 RBI, 21/7 K/BB; final 27 games: 108 PA, .167/.259/.281, 2 HR, 7 XBH, 10 RBI, 32/10 K/BB
2017) 1st 20 games: 87 PA, .290/.437/.565, 4 HR, 10 XBH, 17 RBI, 18/11 K/BB; final 27 games: 100 PA, .311/.370/.556, 4 HR, 14 XBH, 13 RBI, 29/7 K/BB
In the 44 games he collected multiple plate appearances, he reached base safely twice in a game 31 times. He collected 16 multi-hit games compared to the 11 he had a season ago.
He would have a multi-strikeout performances 11 times, with six of them being three or more. In the previous season that was 15 and three, respectively. To expand five of those 3+ K performances this year came in the final 27 games. He ended up not striking out in 19 games, with 11 of them coming in the final 23 games. Last season he struck out in all but 12 of the 47 games he played. So despite some ugly lines down the stretch, it was a lot better than last season’s end of the year performance.
Jhailyn performed fairly well in tough situations. With runners in scoring position, he hit .271/.368/.479 with seven extra base hits and a 18/6 K/BB in 55 plate appearances. With two outs in that situation, he hit .243/.349/.486 with five extra base hits and a 11/4 K/BB in 43 plate appearances. With two outs, regardless of baserunners, he hit .266/.382/.547 with 10 extra base hits and a 20/8 K/BB. Against LHP he hit a strong .396/.463/.688 (54 PA) with nine extra base hits (two HR) and 9/6 K/BB. While RHP had a bit more success, he still hit a very productive .261/.376/.505 (133 PA) with 15 extra base hits (6 HR) and a 38/12 K/BB (and 9 HBP).
He ended up being above the NY-Penn league averages in extra base hit percentage (9.6%, league 5.85%), BB rate (8.6%) and K rate (22.9%)
In terms of batted balls, perhaps the biggest change was Jhailyn’s ability to go the other way more consistently. He dropped his pull percentage from 55% to 41.6% while his ball to the opposite field increased to 37.2%. His groundball rate increased marginally by 1.6% (44.5%) and he watched his flyballs go down a bit (decreased by 2.9% to 39.1%)
Tale of the Tape
The thing to take away from the above video is that Jhailyn has tremendous easy raw power, and he can hit with it to all fields. His quick wrists allow him to keep his bat head deeper in the zone, so even when he clears his hips and opens up, his raw strength can help him hit the ball the other way with authority. He doesn’t go up to the plate looking to swing for the fences everytime, which is something positive for his hit tool moving forward as he faces more experienced pitching. As you may have noticed, he’s fairly close to the plate, leaning in on the delivery of the pitch. This also helps him get to pitch on the outside corner, but also makes him an easy target for the ball to hit him (nine HBP). Jhailyn’s has a pretty good eye at the plate working 49 pitches in 13 trips over the weekend (3.77 P/PA). When he was super aggressive early in the count, good things mainly happened, but he showed a tendency to foul off some tough pitches and work counts (six AB of 5+ pitches).
There are few things that might deter him from being an elite prospect at this point in time. The first is he really has a tough time laying off breaking balls, the pitch he whiffed on the most from that weekend. The second is timing. He generally likes to start with his front foot tapping back towards his back leg, before he lifts and strides forward. This generally works for him but there were times he faced a pitcher with a quicker pace, where he had to quicken that up a bit and he was a bit off balanced. Timing also became a problem when he just saw a steady diet of breaking balls and he couldn’t catch up to a fastball.
Defensively, there weren’t many opportunities to be had when he played in rightfield when I watched him. The few times the ball came to him he made an easy catch or made a nice cut off. He made one throw where the ball that was cut off where his plus arm strength showed. He moves fairly well for his size, as he showed with two stolen bases during my July visit to Williamsport. I would still classify him as probably a 35-40 grade speed, but not a major liability in the outfield.
What Lies Ahead
Jhailyn’s 2018 will begin in Lakewood in what will be his first year in full season ball. After the tremendous progression he had in Williamsport and seeing the type of power he possesses, it’s hard not to get giddy about what he can become. But one has to remember he just turned 19 almost a week ago, and even the most talented can struggle in their first full season of pro ball (i.e. Mickey Moniak, Daniel Brito). It wouldn’t be surprising if that batting average dips closer to .240 this season but he maintains a high on-base percentage. But Jhailyn’s adjustments last year are an encouraging sign that he may be handle the rigors of playing 100+ games. There will be future questions about where his long term position might be, but so far he’s been capable of handling rightfield. He should stick there unless he outgrows the position or injuries force him to be a 1B/DH type (he missed 20 of the last 30 games with a hamstring injury). In my opinion, I could see him handling it the next 5-7 years before a position change is considered. But Jhailyn’s all fields power and patience should carry him to a future big league career, if not with this organization than perhaps an American League team that could give him the DH option once he matures into his body. I see a future average hitter who can draw walks to go with that plus power to the point he could have a couple of All-Star seasons in him. Right now, some in the industry outside of Philadelphia know of him. By this point next year, inner baseball circles might have him as one of baseball’s top power prospects. The $4 million the Phillies used to sign Jhailyn Ortiz back in 2015 has paid off thus far in his first two seasons in the system (they even had to acquire more international bonus money to get to that number). Here’s hoping that continues.