Winter Leagues: Danny Ortiz Has Big Plans For 2016

In Puerto Rico on Friday night, Danny Ortiz went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. His stats still aren’t good with a .169 average and just two extra-base hits(both doubles) in 83 at-bats, but there was an interesting article out of Puerto Rico Friday about Ortiz(link is in Spanish). In it he said that the Pirates were very aggressive in trying to sign him this off-season, having Clint Hurdle call him and let him know that they want him to come in and compete for the fourth outfielder job out of Spring Training. Ortiz signed right away with Pittsburgh and he said in the article that he believes he can win that job.

Ortiz mentions that he was unhappy with the Twins, who didn’t give him a chance after what he considered was a very good season. He hit .248/.295/.430 with 31 doubles and 17 homers in 2015, though that came with a 33/105 BB/SO ratio. The article also talks about the Pirates visiting Puerto Rico without any players from there on the roster. Ortiz is from Puerto Rico and obviously his goal is to be on the active roster during that trip.

Winter stats aside, he has never been a big on base guy and doesn’t steal bases, but he can play all three outfield spots and there is some power in his bat. There is no clear cut fourth outfielder on the Pirates’ roster right now, so he could get a legit chance to compete for that spot if things don’t change.

In Venezuela, Jose Osuna went 1-for-3 with a walk. He is now hitting .339/.402/.506 in 47 games. He has the sixth best OPS in the league.

Elias Diaz went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He is hitting .246/.309/.459 in 17 games.

Gorkys Hernandez went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He’s batting .333 through 46 games, which ties him for the eighth best average in the league.

Deolis Guerra faced two batters, giving up a hit and a walk before being pulled from the game. In six appearances, he has allowed one run over 4.2 innings.

Jhondaniel Medina faced three batters and got two ground balls and a strikeout. One of the batters reached on an error. In nine outings, he has allowed one run over eight innings.

In the Dominican, Pedro Florimon went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. He is still hitting .211, but he has really cut down on the strikeouts. He struck out 20 times in his first 12 games and just three times in his last eight games.

Gustavo Nunez went 1-for-5 with a double and run scored. The double was his first extra-base hit in 27 winter games.

Wilkin Castillo went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He was 1-for-19 coming into the game.

In Australia, Sam Kennelly went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored. He is hitting .208 through 13 games.

In Mexico, Carlos Munoz grounded into a double play as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. In his last ten games, he is 5-for-36 with a .323 OPS.

Sebastian Valle went 1-for-4 with a double. He is hitting .233 with one walk and six doubles in 19 games.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 5, 2015 10:18 am

    Interesting….unless the Pirates bring in some journeyman and basically hand him the 4th OF spot, this Spring may be a very spirited battle for that role with Ortiz, Garcia, Rojas, Broxton, Hernandez, and possibly Bell.
    Going in, I like Broxton – he has speed, some pop, runs the bases well, can steal a base, and is a very good outfielder. And’ he’s done well in AA and AAA – has a lot of experience. He does SO a lot, so that is his one glaring weakness to his game. If he can cut down on his SO rate, he could be a good player to have on the bench and to spot start here and there.

    • There is also the hidden vig for the Bucs that if a couple of those guys have good springs, they gain the ability to trade a controllable young OF when something they need becomes available.

    • Seeing this list of guys, I would get another guy. With the division they are in you can’t be messing around for 2 months with some unproven commodity. With the good chance just a few games will separate 3 teams and the Pirates poor record against the division why mess around with these players to start?

      • Its the 4th OFer spot, not a starter. Its not like other teams are rolling out high quality options as the bench OFer.

        Broxton aint that shockingly different that a Peter Bourjos type for STL. 4th OF giving you production in some area seems fine, like having legit speed and above average defense. Not really messing around as much as it is having a decent option.

        Its not like any 4th OF on this team is starting a ton. Marte and Cutch are getting 145+ starts a year, and Polanco just went 150 to show the team has no issues running him out there nearly every game.

        • Agree for the most part but Ortiz is highly unproven as he has no MLB AB. Broxton and Garcia in same boat. There are guys out there they could trade for not a lot that can help. With where the Pirates are their 4th OF should be a guy who potentially could start on a weaker team. They are in championship mode, not spend half the summer auditioning a potential player mode. The 2016 Pirates will almost certainly be a better team if Ortiz is hanging out in Indy.

          • I just think thats a totally not rational expectation of what a 4th OFer looks like.

            Teams dont magically have 4 guys able to start for other teams. STL didnt have that when contending often, Cubs really didnt have that. The idea that a good team has a 4th OF capable of starting a ton isnt a sure thing, it’d mean you are either operating with a young talent off the bench or overpaying a guy to be your 4th OF.

            Seriously, STL was fine giving a bench role to guys like Jay and Bourjos. And that wasnt a terrible idea.

            • I agree Luke. They don’t magically have them. They go get them because they want to win a championship. The Pirates have 3 good ones so they only need to get one guy. I think them pursuing Moreland and getting him would be exactly what they need.

              • “They go get them” then tell STL it didnt do enough to win a division the last few years because they had Peter Bourjos types as the 4th OFer.

                They dont actually do what you said, thats a total assumption off nothing. Many many many great teams have average 4th OFers who arent starters just playing on a good team. PGH not buying a starter for 7 million and placing him on the bench isnt cheap, its baseball.

                • I get all of your points but there is a reason they are going after Moreland. I think it’s more for 1B but it’s adding another proven bat that they definitely need. When you expect to win 90 games or more you can’t bank on decent AAA vet types and prospects like Bell. If you get Moreland and Bell takes his and Morse’s job at some point then that is just a bonus.

            • …although Moreland is more of a 1B. I don’t know how much he played OF last year.

        • Its not like other teams are rolling out high quality options as the bench OFer

          Maybe this is not the way it is now, but maybe it should be. Because…

          Its not like any 4th OF on this team is starting a ton.

          I added up PAs for OF who were not in the top 3 in PA on their teams for April, and there were over 17,000 PA. So, 570+ PA on average per team for guys who weren’t one of the 3 main OF in April. The fangraphs filter isn’t perfect and it captures some guys that play other positions, too… but my method also undercounts some guys who may have had a lot of PA in April.

          In the past I’ve added up that bench players seem to get about 2 players worth of PAs in a year, so maybe putting a little more money into that 4th OF isn’t such a bad idea.

          • There is 0 chance any 4th OF in PGH is getting that many at bats. Maybe crappy teams with poor OFers do that, but PGH is throwing the same 3 OFers out there 145+ games a year. With Harrison on the roster, a legit starting 4th OF isnt a huge need even if Marte gets hurt.

            Spending any decent money on a 4th OF would be a poor allocation of money.

  • “Ortiz mentions that he was unhappy with the Twins, who didn’t give him a chance after what he considered was a very good season. He hit .248/.295/.430 with 31 doubles and 17 homers in 2015, though that came with a 33/105 BB/SO ratio.

    Yeh….hard to believe that the Twins didn’t promote a guy with a .725 OPS.

    Tell me again why we wanted this guy?

    • Because you chased Lambo away!

    • Considering he would have tied for the Pirates minor league lead in both homers and extra-base hits, I think he would fit in fine. A .725 OPS is also well above league average, only one of the 14 teams in the IL had a better team OPS and that was .727

      • Thanks for telling me again. 🙂

        Btw, tying us in minor league HRs is sorta damning him with faint praise, no?


        • Sort of, but we are still talking about someone who signed a minor league deal, so at this point, there shouldn’t be a big concern about why they signed him. If he does make the bench, then you could probably question that decision. But a 25-year-old who can play all three outfield spots and showed power should have a spot in your system as depth