Philadelphia Phillies in Agreement with International Prospect Jhailyn Ortiz, Pending Physical


The Phillies are in agreement with one of International baseball’s top prospects, Jhailyn Ortiz. 

Thursday marks the official date in which Major League Baseball teams can sign international players. The Philadelphia Phillies have tested the international market before, most notably with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. That experiment has not gone well, but it is not stopping the Phillies from being aggressive with international prospects. As most of the baseball community now knows, the Phillies are heading in the direction of a rebuild. Through their current farm system, free-agency, the draft, trades and international signings, the Phillies are looking to become relevant again.

For months, the Phillies have been linked to Jhailyn Ortiz, who is a 16-year old prospect from the Dominican Republic. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs told me last week that a deal between the Phillies and Ortiz ‘has been done for a long time’. This also seems to coincide with a report from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury last month that suggested that the team was going to sign Ortiz. Thursday morning, Salisbury was again out in front of the story.

Jesse Sanchez of later followed up the report with financial details, amongst other things.

In his most recent measures, Ortiz stood 6’2, 260 pounds, which is a large frame for a 16-year old. On their international signing board, FanGraphs has Ortiz listed as a first-baseman. Ortiz hits and throws from the right side as well. FanGraphs assesses the risk and projected bonus for each of the top international prospects. Ortiz is listed as a four risk (scale is one to five with one being low risk), but McDaniel explained to me that the risk is because of the slot in which Ortiz is ranked. Currently, FanGraphs projects Ortiz to receive a $4.2 million bonus. That ranks as the fourth-highest, according to FanGraphs board.

In his report, McDaniel explains the risk associated with Ortiz (click link above for report/video):

"“The consensus in the scouting community is that Ortiz has or will have a deal with the Phillies and that the bonus starts with a four, with my latest info pegging it at $4.2 million. Some teams have Ortiz valued at about half that price due to the contact concerns, but 10 years from now, Ortiz will either be a good player or a bad one, not a good/bad value or an over/underpay.”"

The risk is something the Phillies will have to take because Ortiz does present upside at the plate. The big issues with Ortiz are, as McDaniel also points out, his current size, lack of a true position and swing-and-miss potential. McDaniel did state in his report that Ortiz has 70 raw power, which could play well in Citizens Bank Park (if he gets there). Despite his size, McDaniel also saw Ortiz hit a triple over a center-fielder’s head and leg out triple. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is listed as the number four prospect on FanGraphs board, ran the same 7.25 60 time as Ortiz, despite being 40 pounds lighter.

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This would be an important signing for the Phillies as they will soon need to replace Ryan Howard, and lack a true power bat in their system. If you cannot put a face to 70 raw power look no further than Maikel Franco, who was listed with this power as a prospect. The signing could come with some consequences though.

As the rules stand today, a team that exceeds their pool by 15-percent of more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100-percent tax on the pool overage. On July 2, the Phillies will have $3,041,700 in bonus money to spend on international prospects. If the number projected by FanGraphs comes true, the Phillies will have to pay a penalty for inking Ortiz.

Of course, there are concerns with Ortiz at an early age, but it is very hard to project a 16-year old at the next levels. The risk the Phillies would be taking is on the bat of Ortiz, who present little upside in the field. If Ortiz can hit with 70-or-more power at the next levels, the Phillies will find a place for him to play. In the rebuilding stage of their process, Ortiz is a risk the Phillies should take. They cannot worry about where players are currently at in their farm system, they need to be aggressive and sign high-ceiling players. In McDaniel’s scouting report, Ortiz is basically described as a boom-or-bust type of prospect. The huge power upside provides enough of a reason for the Phillies to take a risk on the 16-year old from the Dominican Republic.

Stay tuned to as the international signings process progresses.

Next: Could Jim Thome or Raul Ibanez be Next Phillies' Manager?

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