Q&A with Mark Ortega

Mark Ortega, playing shortstop for Palm Beach Gardens High School in Florida, was a member of the USA 16 and under National Team that won the 2003 World Championship in Taiwan. Mark has a projectable body and is expected to be among the higher draft picks in the high school ranks in next June's MLB Draft.

Despite playing a majority of his games in high school at shortstop, Mark Ortega is considered to be among the top 3B prospects and will most likely make the permanent move to that position in the pros. Known as an above average defensive player, Ortega had 25 put outs and 42 assists playing shortstop and third base for Palm Beach Gardens High School. He has good power projection, excellent bat speed, and uses the whole field when hitting. Mark sat down with Scout.com for a Q&A session.

Other than playing baseball, what other activities do you like to do in your leisure?
I like to go on the computer, play video games, lift weights, and go to the batting cages every day.

What aspects of your game do you think makes you such a good baseball player at this point in your life?
Just knowing the game mentality, not just playing the game, but actually knowing the situations and knowing what your team needs you to do in each given situation.

Have you committed to a college for 2005?
I will be attending Boston College.

What were the deciding factors for you in picking Boston College?
I took a visit there and really enjoyed it. I also had a good relationship with the coaches and players that I met during my visit, so I felt real good energy from that.

You currently play shortstop, however is that a position you see yourself playing down the road?
I think I can play short stop down the road, however some scouts have said because of my size I project better as a third baseman.

Would you like to remain at shortstop?
I feel more comfortable at shortstop because I have played it my whole life, however third base is fine with me as well. Either of those positions would suit me just fine.

Have you given any thought to the upcoming 2005 Major League Baseball Draft, and if so what is your thought process on that?
I'm not sure...I have talked to some scouts but I am really not sure what to expect. I am just taking it day by day.

Has there been a coach or somebody you would really consider a mentor in teaching you the game of baseball?
That has to be Mike Adams, who had been my coach since I was just 7, and I practice with him every day, and he has prepared me a lot.

How did you get into playing the sport of baseball?
From what I remember, I was five years old, and my dad enrolled me in the local tee-ball league, and I was pretty good. From that point on I just began working hard at it, and practicing baseball every day, and it just grew into something I love to do.

What would you say is your biggest baseball moment?
I would say my experience in Taiwan. [in 2003 as a member of the USA Youth National Team] Winning the gold medal in front of all those people was unbelievable. The moment we piled up on everyone on the field knowing we won a medal for our country is definitely my biggest moment.

Talk a little about playing in various showcases and having scouts and college coaches watching your every move?
It gets you a little nervous at first, but I went to my first showcase as a freshman in high school, and by now when you're a senior you just get used to it and is a little easier to play.

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