Welcome back to another chapter of Up-and-Coming Dynasty Players. This week I want to feature a player who started his career in the Baltimore system before being shipped to Milwaukee this offseason as a key piece for the Brewers in a trade. I’m talking about Joey Ortiz.

Joey Ortiz had an outstanding college career at New Mexico State University. In three seasons he slashed .342/.402/.510 with 15 homers, 173 RBI, and 35 steals in 170 games. He had really gaudy numbers his junior season as he slashed .422/.474/.697 with eight home runs, 84 RBI, and 12 steals.

While outstanding numbers, New Mexico State has a home field that is great for hitters and plays in a conference that isn’t exactly filled with major league quality pitchers. Thus, there were questions about how well Ortiz would do at the next level, leading him to fall to the fourth round before Baltimore selected him in the 2019 draft.

It would take a few years before the Orioles and other teams would know just how good Ortiz is as Covid wiped out the 2020 season and he appeared in only 35 games in 2021 due to a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

But in 2022 Ortiz showed off his skills at the plate, earning him a promotion to the majors in 2023 and then become a key player in the package that Baltimore sent to Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes ahead of this season.

Let’s look at why Ortiz is an up-and-coming dynasty player.


2023 – Balt 33 7 4 0 4 0 .212 .206 .242
2024 – Mil 112 26 13 4 12 1 .277 .384 .511
Last 7 Days 19 6 4 1 2 0 .316 .409 .579
Last 14 Days 30 9 6 3 4 0 .300 .382 .733

Joey Ortiz broke out in 2022, playing in both Double-A and Triple-A. Across both levels, he slashed .284/.349/.477 with 19 homers, 85 RBI, and eight steals. His season impressed the Orioles as he joined the team April 27 of last year.

But the Orioles used him sparingly. Appearing in only 15 games, he had 33 at-bats before being sent back to Triple-A at the end of June. During his time with the Orioles he slashed .212/.206/.242 with four RBI with a 26% strikeout rate and 0% walk rate – both rates were way out of whack compared to his career numbers. Ortiz finished the season with Norfolk and in 88 games he showed he was too good for that level, slashing .321/.378/.507 with nine dingers, 58 RBI, and 11 steals.

Square Peg, Round Hold

Those numbers were great for Ortiz and certainly showed he is capable of producing at the plate. And his ability in the field has never been questioned. He can play third base, second base, and shortstop, and play them all well.

But he didn’t quite fit into the future plans of the Orioles. The problem for Ortiz in Baltimore was the fact that team is loaded with talented players who all play those positions in Jordan Westburg, Gunnar Henderson, and Jackson Holliday.

So Ortiz was not a fit for Baltimore, and that was good news for Milwaukee. As mentioned, he was acquired as part of the Burnes trade this past offseason and Ortiz has been a fixture in the lineup for the Brewers this season. He has started 23 games at third and four at second base and made one appearance at shortstop.

The Tools

  • Hit

Joey Ortiz will stick in the majors because of his ability to put the bat on the ball and control the strike zone. In the minors he had a career strikeout rate of 17% with a 9% walk rate. During his brief major league career his strikeout rate is 19.8% with an 11% walk rate. Those numbers are even better this season as the strikeout rate is at 17.8% and the walk rate has jumped to 14%.

An interesting development for Ortiz this season is how he has turned into a pull hitter. Throughout his minor league career he hit the ball to all fields and during his brief tenure with the Orioles he pulled the ball only 8% of the time compared to going up the middle 64% of the time and to right 28% of the time. This season he has become more of a pull hitter, going to left 28% of the time and up the middle only 51% while hitting to the opposite field 21% of the time. (Editor’s Note: Jakkers emailed me after posting with an update that of course, Joey Ortiz hit a double and homer tonight to the opposite field.  The man does it all.)

  • Power

The reason for this change in approach may be his attempt to hit for more power. Coming out of college scouts graded him as having average to slightly below average power. And while he has hit homers in the minors, it was only at a 2.4% clip.

That has changed this year. His current home run rate is 3.6%, above the MLB average of 3.1% while his ISO is sitting at .234. The MLB average is .162.

Ortiz currently ranks third on the Brewers in average bat speed at 74.2 mph. However, that hasn’t translated yet into making constant hard contact. His Average EV ranks only in the 33rd percentile and his Barrel% and Hard-Hit% rank only in the 54th and 43rd percentiles. But the ability to hit for power is there and I expect him to hit more homers in the future.

  • Speed

Ortiz is not slow as his sprint speed ranks in the 70th percentile. But he is not a base stealer.

In his 52 career major league games entering Friday, he has attempted one steal and was he was successful. With the rules now favor baserunners when it comes to steals, Ortiz may add a few stolen bases here and there, but that is not his game.

The Verdict

Joey Ortiz is not a player who has come out of nowhere. He entered the top 100 prospect rankings for Baseball America and MLB Pipeline in 2023. But he was near the bottom of those rankings, coming in at 95 by Baseball America and 99 by MLB. Ortiz was considered a solid prospect, but certainly not a sure thing.

But the right-hander has proven his success in college wasn’t a product of his environment and he has shown the ability to be a solid player on a dynasty team. After a solid April (.266/.385/.406, one homer, eight RBI), Ortiz has really turned it on this month. In eight starts and 10 appearances overall, he is slashing .300/.382/.733 with three home runs and four RBI.

Will he keep up a blistering 1.115 OPS? No, that is reserved for the Aaron Judges of the world. But while he won’t hit a ton of home runs, he has solid gap power right now to lead to a lot of doubles and even triples. I can see him hitting around 12 homers this year with 25 to 30 doubles, which would produce a very solid slugging percentage.

Down the road the power should increase, though 20 may be his ceiling. But the slash line should remain strong as he draws walks and should produce a .280-.290 batting average.

Thanks for reading and come again next week.