DEFENSIVE WIZ ORTEGA APPEARS TICKETED FOR WISCONSIN
Brewers fans in Appleton, Wisconsin have been treated to some impressive defense from the shortstop position over the past few years.
In 2012 it was Puerto Rican Yadiel Rivera. Last season it was Venezuelan Orlando Arcia.
This year it should be another slick-fielding Latin American manning the position, as 20-year-old Angel Ortega appears poised to assume the reigns from Arcia.
The Brewers selected Ortega in the 6th round of the 2012 draft, and he began his career that same season in the Arizona League, hitting .242 in 46 games. Last season he moved up a level and played 63 games for Helena in the Pioneer League.
Milwaukee will be looking for Ortega to take the next step in 2014, and that means a likely assignment to Low-A Wisconsin in the Midwest League. Ortega says he has been enjoying his spring and getting ready for the lengthier season that comes with Single-A.
“It’s been great” he said. “Spring Training I’ve been working on my timing, trying to hit my pitch, and stay healthy and be ready for the full season.”
Ortega’s calling card is indeed his defense, and he’s made some spectacular plays already in his brief Brewers career. But it’s the routine plays that the 20-year-old Puerto Rican wants to focus on.
“I try to concentrate more on the routine plays” he said, “and the spectacular plays, you just make it. We have a drill we do, and it’s a knee drill, and we just work on short hops and things, so trying to do something every day about defense.”
As for what he’d like to accomplish this upcoming season, after hitting just .222 last year in the Pioneer League, Ortega says he’d like to do a better job at the plate in 2014.
“I mean I’m trying to get my batting average more like .300, .290s” he said, “and trying to get a better on base percentage”
Ortega should be a fun player for fans in Wisconsin to watch, and after falling just short last season in Helena, is quick to mention the goal that is most important to him. “Trying to get a ring for my team” he said,
Milwaukee announced another series of roster moves today, releasing a total of eleven players. Infielders T.J. Mittelstaedt, Joe Thurston, Mike Walker and Cody Hawn, outfielders Chadwin Stang and Charlie Markson, catcher Michael Turay and pitchers Estevenson Encarnacion, Juan Santiago, Taylor Mangum and David Otterman were all let go by the Brewers.
The Brewers dropped their final Spring Training game in Arizona this afternoon, losing to the Cincinnati Reds 8-2. Many minor league players saw action for Milwaukee on “getaway day”, including first baseman Hunter Morris who went 1-for-2 with a home run. Irving Falu got the start at third base and went 1-for-3. Other minor league players to see action included Michael Reed, Kevin Mattison, Michael Ratterree, Nick Shaw, Casey Medlen, Adam Weisenburger, Brent Leach, Elian Hererra and Kyle Heckathorn.
On Friday, the Brewers will play the first of back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliates. The Triple-A and Double-A games will be at Camelback Ranch, as the Nashville Sounds play the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Huntsville Stars play the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Single-A games will be played at Maryvale Baseball Park, with the Brevard County Manatees going up against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers taking on the Great Lakes Loons. Hiram Burgos gets the start for Nashville while Drew Gagnon is on the hill for Huntsville. Austin Ross makes his first start of the spring for Brevard County and Barrett Astin will be on the mound for Wisconsin. All four games have a 1:00 pm start time.