Texas Rangers: Former first round pick returns to Arlington
By Ethan Worley
The Texas Rangers brought back a former first-round pick on a minor league deal Wednesday.
The Texas Rangers signed RHP Luis Ortiz on Wednesday to a minor league contract, according to the team.
This news came just after the organization announced they had dealt OF Scott Heineman to the Cincinnati Reds for prospect Jose Acosta on the same day.
Ortiz was previously a first-round pick of the Texas Rangers, but was traded in 2016 as part of the package that sent catcher Jonathan Lucroy to Arlington.
Ortiz was once a promising prospect for Texas and Milwaukee, being ranked in the preseason Top 100 prospect rankings as recently as 2016 and 2017.
Since his acquisition by the Brewers, however, his potential has mostly fizzled out.
Even as his time with the Rangers was ending, it appeared as though the young right-hander would not be the prospect the organization hoped he would be when he was drafted in 2014.
In 2016, Ortiz had a 4.08 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in Double-A Frisco before being traded to the Brewers later that season in the aforementioned deal for Jonathan Lucroy.
Ortiz made his major league debut in 2018 for the Baltimore Orioles, who acquired him from the Brewers that year.
He pitched in two games for Baltimore that season, starting just one of those games and pitching in 2.1 total innings, finishing with a 15.43 ERA and a 4.29 WHIP.
The former first round pick spent most of 2019 at the Orioles Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, where he pitched to a 6.38 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
He was promoted to the Orioles during September call-ups in 2019, but was disastrous in his only start, giving up four runs (two home runs), five walks, and four hits in 3.1 innings pitched.
Luis Ortiz will likely only be minor league depth for the Texas Rangers.
However, he is still just 25-years-old, meaning he’s young enough to turn around his early career misfortune.
The Rangers’ Triple-A team in Round Rock, where Ortiz is slated to begin 2021, will have a lot of starting opportunities up for grabs.
In fact, four out of the top five pitchers who started games for the 2019 Nashville Sounds (Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate over the last couple of seasons) team are no longer with the organization.
Wes Benjamin is the only pitcher left out of the five, and he will have a real shot to be on the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, potentially leaving five rotation spots open in Round Rock.
With the opportunity Ortiz could have within the Rangers organization, it’s possible 2021 could be the year the former first-round pick starts to turn things around.