Ortiz boasting tantalizing power in Texas' farm system

May 22nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry’s Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHILADELPHIA -- isn’t exactly what you would call a speedster. At 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds, the Rangers’ No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, doesn’t particularly need it either.

Ortiz has 60-grade power, and he uses every bit of it. Signed for $20,000 as an undrafted free agent in 2021, Ortiz flew under the radar for much of his first two seasons of pro ball between the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and Single-A Down East. But in 2023, he finally broke out with High-A Hickory.

Ortiz led the Minors in slugging (.619) and ranked fourth in homers (33) and OPS (.990) in 2023, when he was named South Atlantic League MVP and the Rangers’ Minor League Player of the Year.

“Abi has made a lot of progress in our system,” said Rangers assistant general manager for player development Ross Fenstermaker at the end of last season. “He's got tremendous raw power that he's been able to translate to the game a lot more frequently in 2023. He repeated the level [Single-A Down East], but passed the test pretty early on and carried it into [High-A] Hickory.

"He’s got a good eye at the plate and he’s got a good plan. He simplified some things and can still really do some damage in the box.”

Ortiz has gotten off to a slow start with Double-A Frisco this year, hitting just .197 with a .580 OPS through 33 games, but there’s no doubt he has the most power of any prospect in the Rangers’ system, and he impressed manager Bruce Bochy and the coaching staff in his first big league camp this past Spring Training.

The key to Ortiz making it to the big leagues will ultimately be his defensive position. There’s a lot of pressure on his bat to produce because he’s mostly limited to playing first base, though he did play some outfield in the Arizona Fall League last year.

None of that truly matters if he rakes, though. And so far, Ortiz has proven he can.

“He's got some work to do in the outfield, but we want to create some versatility in his game like many of our other players that are asked to play multiple positions,” Fenstermaker said. “Obviously, with that kind of offensive profile, we want to make sure that we have options in terms of getting him onto a Major League roster one day and giving our Major League staff multiple ways in which they can use him.”

Here’s a look at the rest of the farm:

Triple-A Round Rock
OF (No. 10 prospect)
Harris has been one of the Express’ best hitters this season, slashing .268/.358/.416 in 41 games. The outfielder had a 20/20 season in 2021 with Down East and Hickory, and though he hasn't hit 20 homers in a season since, he stole 41 bases in 2023 between Frisco and Round Rock and already has swiped 12 bags this year.

High-A Hickory
OF (No. 14 prospect)
Morrobel was named Hickory’s Player of the Homestand after the outfielder hit .333 with three homers during the week. The 20-year-old is slashing .319/.382/.522 with a .904 OPS across 19 games in May.

Single-A Down East
INF (No. 25 prospect)
Figuereo has a .823 OPS in 37 games this season as he repeats the Single-A level. He’s slashing .228/.353/.509 in May as he begins to find his footing a bit more after a slow start in April.