Tigers Scouting Report #38: Jose Ortega

Jose Ortega made his big league debut in 2012, and got a handful more appearances in 2013, flashing his heavy fastball and power slider. What has kept Ortega from reaching his ceiling as a late inning reliever?

Jose Ortega

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 10/12/1988 (2014 Opening Day Age: 25)
Height/Weight: 5-11/185
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2006
Ranking History: #69 (2008), #169 (2009), #117 (2010), #14 (2011), #41 (2012), #52, (2013), #38 (2014)

Background: Signed at the outset of the international signing period in 2006, Ortega spent three years in short-season ball before blowing through Low-A, High-A and right into Double-A during the 2010 campaign. At Triple-A in 2011, Ortega struggled to a 6.30 ERA, and then improved to a 5.74 ERA at the same level in 2012. He also made his Major League debut in 2012, before pitching 11 more games at the game's highest level in 2013.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
Detroit 110011.21025561013.861.370-2
Toledo 400448.12821310335611.861.264-3


Scouting Report

Body:Small, wiry frame; excellent strength; workout nut; angular features; has an aggressive look to him.

Delivery/Mechanics: Lots of effort in the delivery; Quick break from the glove; drives hard to the plate; finishes aggressively; will fall off hard to 1B side; arm action can get a little short, but arm is lightning fast; delivery built for short bursts.

Fastball: Explosive; sits 95-97 mph; have seen 98-99 out of the arm in the past; more consistently 96-97 in 2013; ball jumps out of his hand; excellent life on pitch; lacks angle because of height and shorter action and ¾ slot; explosiveness can compensate for lack of angle at times; velocity and life give pitch 7 projection; poor command can force game grade down; near elite velocity; well above-average movement. Grade – Present 7/Future 7+

Slider: Thrown with conviction; very hard; sits 87-88; runs it up to 90 mph at times; hard, tight spin; pitch darts down and away from RHH; can miss bats; pitch plays consistently at plus level; flashes plus-plus; MLB-caliber breaking ball. Grade – 6+/7

Control/Command: Control is poor; command is non-existent; control has made minimal progress throughout minor league career; struggles to move the ball side to side; elevates too frequently; must work down in the zone more frequently but has yet to demonstrate ability to do so; effort/inconsistency in delivery leaves little control projection; will always hold him back from reaching OFP.

Other: Aggressive in every way; likes to attack hitters; has more feel for sequence than he's given credit for; pure reliever profile; struggles fielding his position; pickoff move has made progress but still doesn't hold runners well.

Final Word

Summary: Reliever all the way; FB and SL could both play at 7 level in the end; control has to make multi-grade jump to play at MLB level on a consistent basis; command will not be part of his game; aggressive on the bump; setup ceiling but can't get there with control/command profile and effort in delivery.

Risk: Low risk; Working in projected role; reached MLB level; limited tool development remaining.

Projection: Pure ceiling of setup arm; lack of control and consistency limits realistic role projection; likely 6th inning arm; FB-SL can blow hitters away in middle innings; can be one or two hitter bridge arm before high-leverage relievers enter the game; should play significant role in Detroit in 2014.

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