DANNY ORTIZ, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: January 5, 1990
Drafted: 4th Round, 126th Overall, 2008 (Twins)
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
High School: Benjamin Harrison HS (Puerto Rico)
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|The Twins drafted Ortiz in the 4th round on the strength of pure hitting skills, including good power. He’s largely been undone as a pro, though, by an unwillingness to draw walks. He managed to reach AAA with the Twins by hitting just enough at each level, with usually decent power and poor OBPs. Going into 2017, Ortiz had a career OBP in the minors of .310, just .285 in 334 games in AAA. He’s never gotten a spot on a 40-man roster, nor was he selected in the Rule 5 draft despite being eligible twice. He’s also never made any top prospect lists. His K rate has generally been on the high side, but not alarmingly so, and he’s usually had significant platoon splits. Ortiz runs well enough to get some time in center, but he’s primarily a corner outfielder. The Pirates signed Ortiz to a minor league contract for 2016, then signed him again for 2017.
Ortiz played mainly right field in his rookie league debut. He hit reasonably well, but the lack of patience surfaced right away.
Ortiz missed the entire season following surgery on his left knee for an injury sustained while sliding.
The Twins sent Ortiz to advanced rookie ball, where he played the outfield corners, mostly left. He showed good power, but at the cost of a poor OBP.
Ortiz spent the season in low A. He improved his walk and K rates, but his power, and his hitting overall, dropped off. He played all three outfield positions, including 17 games in center.
The Twins sent Ortiz back to low A at the beginning of the season, then moved him up to high A after a month. He hit better, with his power returning somewhat. He continued playing all three outfield positions.
Ortiz spent the season in AA, playing mostly left. He continued a pattern of hitting just adequately, with a low walk rate but not and exceptionally high K rate.
Ortiz split the season between AA and AAA, again playing mostly left. He had one of his better hitting seasons, but his walk rate evaporated almost entirely.
Ortiz spent the season in AAA, playing mainly center. His batting line closely followed his career minor league line of 261/304/428. He signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent after the season.
The Pirates invited Ortiz to spring training, but he didn’t have a good spring and the signing of Matt Joyce ended whatever minimal chance he had of making the team. He spent the season at Indianapolis, mostly playing center. He hit for fairly good power, but continued to post a low walk rate with a very low OBP. He hit LHPs much better than RHPs.
Ortiz became a free agent after the 2016 season, but re-signed with the Pirates late in the off-season. They may have brought him back in reaction to losing Willy Garcia on a waiver claim. He returned to Indianapolis, but got called up at the end of April when the Pirates had a string of injuries and also had lost Starling Marte to suspension. The attraction evidently was Ortiz’ ability to play all the outfield positions, as his AAA record showed little evidence that he’d be able to hit major league pitching. He also was struggling severely at the time, with a .499 OPS. He didn’t see any action and went back to AAA a few days later, but came up again mid-month. Ortiz got into eight games with the Pirates and got his first major league hit, then was sent back down in late May. He hit better as the season went along, including an .800 OPS after the AAA all-star break. He struggled against LHPs, with a .535 OPS for the season. In early August, the Pirates designated Ortiz for assignment to make room for Sean Rodriguez. He cleared waivers and was assigned to Indianapolis.
Ortiz will be a free agent again in the fall. It’s possible the Pirates could try to bring him back, but there may be a lot of players ahead of him. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pirates try to acquire a legitimate fourth outfielder to replace John Jaso, and Jordan Luplow and Austin Meadows should both be at Indy (and hopefully healthy). Ortiz’ chances of returning to the majors would be better elsewhere.
|2017: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $253,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 4/29/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 4/29/2017 (later removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2017)
MLB Service Time: 0.011
|June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 4th round, 126th overall pick; signed on June 11.
November 6, 2015: Became a free agent.
November 20, 2015: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
November 7, 2016: Became a free agent.
January 9, 2017: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
April 29, 2017: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
August 5, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; cleared waivers and assigned to AAA on August 7.