As Joey Ortiz joins 40-man roster, Orioles infield prospect goals to dispel ‘glove-only’ label – The Mercury Information


The phrases first crept into the Joey Ortiz scouting stories when the Orioles infield prospect was drafted. “Glove-only,” they mentioned. Or, in some situations, stories used a lighter diction, describing Ortiz as a “glove-first” shortstop.

Both description irks Ortiz.

He understands the foundation trigger, as a result of Ortiz is a high-level defender at shortstop, third base and second base. He solely managed three extra-base hits with Low-A Aberdeen after the draft. And earlier than that, he performed faculty baseball at New Mexico State, which has a house subject with a status for being hitter pleasant.

However from the day Baltimore chosen Ortiz within the fourth spherical of the 2019 draft, the Backyard Grove, California, native has made it his mission to banish these phrases from the lexicon of onlookers, growing himself as an all-around infielder worthy of consideration on the plate in addition to the sector.

Together with his addition to the Orioles’ 40-man roster Tuesday, Ortiz is a step nearer to realizing that dream on the highest stage. He’s a part of a crowded Baltimore infield, one boasting a glut of prospects at shortstop. And whereas Ortiz readily admits his defensive work helps him stand out from the pack, he’s fast to guarantee anybody listening that he’s greater than succesful in different areas of the sport.

Quickly, Ortiz hopes, labels corresponding to “glove-only” can be a factor of his previous.

“It’s all the time one thing to gas the fireplace, sort of a chip on the shoulder,” Ortiz mentioned Thursday throughout a video name. “Ever since I obtained drafted, I wished to make it some extent that I may hit, and hit with the professionals.”

His first introduction wasn’t perfect. As a 20-year-old with the IronBirds, Ortiz completed with a slugging share (.267) simply 26 factors above his batting common (.241). Ortiz singled 44 occasions, doubled twice and hit one dwelling run — the sort of numbers that solely bolstered the phrases he wished to expel.

It took an alteration on the plate this season for Ortiz to completely present his potential. He hit .269 for Double-A Bowie earlier than a late-season promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, and that’s the place his efficiency reached one other stage altogether.

Ortiz broke out in his last 26 video games, hitting .346 with a .967 OPS. His 4 dwelling runs with the Tides added to his 15 for the Baysox, which propelled his mixed slugging share to a career-high .477. However Ortiz wasn’t as stunned by the breakout in that division.

“I all the time felt I used to be robust sufficient to have the sort of energy numbers that happened this 12 months,” Ortiz mentioned, however he was hitting to many groundouts. A shift in his palms’ beginning place allowed Ortiz “to get into the appropriate place for that energy to come back out,” bettering his path by the zone and growing his launch angle — and enhancing his energy manufacturing.

“It was simply that little mechanical tweak that we had this 12 months that introduced that out for me,” Ortiz mentioned.

The development on the plate has propelled Ortiz right into a throng of gamers vying for infield enjoying time. Gunnar Henderson already arrived in Baltimore and impressed in his 34 video games, enjoying primarily at third. There’s shortstop Jordan Westburg, who earned the Orioles’ Minor League Participant of the Yr award. Terrin Vavra made his debut within the majors and proved succesful — if not standout.

Then there’s the incumbents, together with Gold Glove Award winner Ramón Urías and shortstop Jorge Mateo. And as free company opens, a ripe shortstop market that features Carlos Correa and Trea Turner may tempt Baltimore’s entrance workplace.

However Ortiz is firmly within the combine, added to the 40-man roster to guard him from the Rule 5 draft. So when spring coaching arrives, Ortiz is intent on displaying all he believes he’s able to — particularly dispelling the labels which have adopted him for the reason that draft.

“Once I do get the chance, the whole lot will be capable of come into play and I gained’t be only a ‘glove-first’ shortstop or restricted to at least one factor,” Ortiz mentioned. “I would like to have the ability to do the whole lot.”

One other 40-man transfer

The Orioles freed a spot on their 40-man roster Thursday evening by outrighting catcher Mark Kolozsvary to Triple-A Norfolk. The transfer additionally leaves Adley Rutschman because the lone backstop on the roster. The 40-man roster is at 38 gamers.

Kolozsvary joins Cam Gallagher and Anthony Bemboom as catchers who’ve been faraway from the 40-man roster this month. The 27-year-old made his main league debut with the Cincinnati Reds this season, showing in 10 video games.


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