- Full name Jose Antonio Ortega
- Born 10/12/1988 in Caja Seca, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 06/08/2012
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Tigers have developed Ortega as a pure relief prospect since the day he signed in 2006. He has progressed slowly with an explosive fastball and erratic control. After getting to the major leagues for the first time in 2012, he began 2013 at Triple-A Toledo before getting back to Detroit in May, staying there for a month but finishing the year in Triple-A. His money pitch is his fastball, which comes out of his hand at 94-98 mph and crosses the plate with vicious life. It's a hard, heavy pitch with late movement through the zone, enabling him to blow it by hitters or get weak groundballs. When it's on, his 84-88 mph slider gives him another plus pitch with late tilt. His problem continues to be that he's more thrower than pitcher. He has trouble repeating his violent, max-effort mechanics and crossfire delivery, making it difficult to find the strike zone. Ortega has the pure stuff to be a high-leverage reliever, but he must find control first.
Ortega didn't reach full-season ball until 2010, his fourth year as a pro, and he has recorded a 5.99 ERA in Triple-A during the last two seasons. Nevertheless, he always has had a big arm and made his major league debut last year. Managers rated his fastball the International League's best in 2012. It sits at 95-98 mph with tremendous movement and grades out as at least a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. His mid-80s slider has explosive life too and gives him a second plus pitch. Ortega hasn't had much success because his control and command are poor. He has a thin, wiry frame with some effort in his delivery. If he can learn to slow things down and realizes he can take a little off his fastball without losing effectiveness, he should be able to throw strikes more consistently. Ortega has the upside of a set-up man, and his consistency will determine how much big league managers will trust him in key situations.
Ortega didn't reach full-season ball until 2010, his fourth year as a pro, but he ended that campaign in Double-A. He spent the entire 2011 season in Triple-A, where his numbers went backwards. A reliever his entire career, Ortega shows promising arm strength but inconsistent secondary pitches and erratic command. He has a small frame with good strength for his size and a quick arm that delivers fastballs from 94-97 mph. He needs to improve his slider, which has short, tight action at times. It gives him a second power pitch when it's on but often gets slurvy. He mixes in a below-average changeup on occasion. Ortega has effort and a head whack in his delivery, which hampers his command. He has a tendency to get amped up and overthrow for the radar gun, which magnifies his control issues. If he can develop average fastball control and tighten his slider, he has middle-relief potential. He'll start 2012 back at Toledo.
Signed out of Venezuela in 2006, Ortega didn't reach full-season ball until his fourth year as a pro. Once he did, he pitched at three levels and vaulted all the way to Double-A in 2010. Ortega has a small frame but he's wiry strong and has a quick arm that generates blistering 94-95 mph fastballs that get as high as 98. He has a short arm action and a high three-quarters arm slot, so his fastball is fairly flat and straight. He tends to fall in love with his heater, and the Tigers would like him to mix his pitches more efficiently. His 81-85 mph slider can get slurvy, but it also shows flashes of being an above-average pitch. His changeup is below average and just for show. Ortega throws with some effort in his delivery. His front side can be a little stiff and he lands upright with a head whack, leading to command problems. Ortega has the power fastball succeed as a late-inning reliever. He'll likely begin 2011 back in Double-A, working to smooth out his delivery and mix up his sequencing. If he can do that, he could be in Detroit's high octane bullpen by the end of the season.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the International League in 2012
- Rated Best Fastball in the Detroit Tigers in 2011