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Jhailyn Ortiz Takes Big Step Forward



Jhailyn Ortiz has been under an intense microscope since the day he arrived in the Phillies organization as a 16-year-old in 2015.

That’s just the way it is when you receive a franchise-record signing bonus of just over $4 million.

Phillies officials have seen progress from the hulking outfielder in 2021.

“He has most definitely taken a step forward in all areas of the game,” said assistant general manager Jorge Velandia, who saw Ortiz as a young amateur in the Dominican Republic.

“From Day One, he’s had the tools to eventually be a big leaguer. It takes time for players to develop, and Jhailyn is on a good track.”

Ortiz was 6-foot-2, 260 pounds when he signed. He’s 6-foot-3, 249 pounds now. He still has huge power and he’s showing it more than ever thanks to improved conditioning, swing decisions and pitch recognition.

In 95 games between High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Reading, the 22-year-old outfielder was hitting .250/.346/.488 with 23 home runs. His strikeout rate was still high at 29%, but it had improved slightly from previous seasons, as had his walk rate.

“His overall selectivity is better,” Velandia said. “He’s understanding himself better as a hitter.

“They pitch him tough. He hits three, four, five (in the lineup). Other teams watch BP. They hear the different sound it makes. Like any other high-profile guys, people know who you are. But he’s responding.”

For a big man, Ortiz continues to show surprising athleticism. He projects as a right fielder but has spent significant time in center field this season.

“We like to move our outfielders around,” Velandia said. “It’s part of the development process. He’s got a plus arm and he moves well. He’s very agile.”

Ortiz’s power could give teams something to think about in the Rule 5 draft this winter—unless the Phillies protect him. They have not the last two winters.

“As a group, we’ve always thought there was a lot there,” Velandia said. “Jhailyn just needs to continue to play.”

PHIL-UPS

— The Phillies are looking for new leadership atop their minor league system. Bryan Minniti, the assistant general manager who oversaw scouting and player development, and Josh Bonifay, the director of player development, were both removed from their roles by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in August.

— Low-A Clearwater righthander Mick Abel, the team’s top prospect and first-round pick in 2020, was shut down with right shoulder tendinitis in late July. Team officials say it was not serious and they were just being cautious. They were hoping Abel would pitch in instructional league, if not sooner.

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