For years, Phillies fans have been calling for the team to dive into international waters, so to speak, and explore the market outside of the United States for potential prospects. In 2015, the Phillies did just that by signing 16-year-old outfielder, Jhaylin Ortiz. At the time, he was the sixth-best prospect in the international free agent class and the Phillies decided to go all-in to the tune of $4.2 million. This was the highest bonus the team has ever paid for an international player, showing the team instilled confidence in the youngster.
Before being signed, Ortiz was looked at as a 16-year-old power bat with untapped potential. Baseball America rated his power as the best in the class, grading him a 70 on a 20-80 scouting scale. The Phillies were hoping to grab their next pure power player and now, two years later, that vision is starting to become a reality.
Phillies assistant general manager, Benny Looper, said the front office had been scouting Ortiz for quite a while:
“We have been scouting Jhailyn since he was 14 years old. Since that time, our scouts have gotten to know the family and have a strong conviction of not only his ability to play baseball, but his strong character and desire to be a Major League player. We are excited to add the power potential Jhailyn possesses to the Phillies organization.”
Just like it is with all the prospects in the farm, the Phillies decided to take things slowly with Ortiz, leaving him in extended spring training where he could work on plate discipline and pitch recognition. This is similar to the same reasoning they had for leaving Nick Williams in Triple-A for the first three months of this season. We all see how that is working out.
Ortiz currently stands as the Phillies’ 22nd ranked prospect, but is sure to climb higher by season’s end. He currently stands with a line of .300, seven home runs and 24 RBIs in just 100 at-bats. His favorite player growing up was Miguel Cabrera, and if there’s even a chance Ortiz can come close to Miggy’s fantastic career, Philadelphia will be a popular destination once again. It sure looks like the Phillies may have found the next guy to make Ashburn Alley a home run trademark!
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For fantasy purposes, all my articles are predicated upon a PPR-based system.