Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospects #25: Rodrigo Orozco


Our Blue Jays Top-30 prospects of 2016 continues with the rather unheralded centre fielder Rodrigo Orozco, whose
bat continues to play as he matures

In the wake of the Blue Jays late-July prospect purge in trades for David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere and others, a handful of previously little-known prospects have been given the opportunity to build a reputation for themselves. Centre fielder Rodrigo Orozco out of Panama City, Panama is an excellent example of this, and a season of offensive improvements has him at #25 on our Top-30 Blue Jays prospects of 2016.

If you’ve missed the countdown up until this point, here’s a chance to get caught up. We’ll be rolling out one new name each morning until hitting the number one spot in early February.

Hon. Mentions Part 1        Hon. Mentions Part 2
#30: Freddy Rodriguez
#29: Evan Smith
#28: Deiferson Barreto
#27: Chad Girodo

Orozco was signed by the Blue Jays out of Panama on July 4th of 2012. It was a move that you likely didn’t hear much of at the time, and it’s equally unlikely that you’ve heard a great deal about Orozco’s minor league performance since then.

This isn’t for a lack of talent, though. After being more of an afterthought prospect through his first two seasons in the organization, Orozco benefitted from a thinned farm system around him as his name began to enter the back-end of conversations for top prospect lists. A late-season cup of coffee with the Vancouver Canadians helped to put him on the map as well.

Name: Rodrigo Orozco
Position: CF      Age: 20
Height: 5’11”      Weight: 155
Throws: R     Bats: S
Acquired: International free agent

Orozco made his Blue Jays debut with the DSL Jays back in 2013 as an 18-year old, and his first taste of pro ball went relatively well. Playing more left field than centre, Orozco posted a triple-slash line of .269 / .373 / .423 over 40 games with 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also brought a strong plate approach in that short sample size, walking 19 times and striking out 21.

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He would remain with the DSL Jays for the entirey of the 2014 season, but didn’t manage to put up similar numbers at the dish. Flip-flop these two seasons to represent a more steady progression over his young career, and we’re probably talking about a higher ranking on most prospect lists.

Orozco did manage to push his average and on-base percentage just above his 2013 totals, but the extra-base hits weren’t falling quite as easily. Again, though, his plate discipline shone through over 61 games with 40 walks.

Splitting 61 games between Bluefield (58) and Vancouver (3) this past season, Orozco took a noteworthy step forward. In fact, it was good enough to earn him the MVP nod in Bluefield as part of the Blue Jays organizational awards.

Orozco batted .302 with an OPS of .817, both career highs. He added 18 doubles and a lone triple to his four home runs, and even if his deep-fly potential is nearing its ceiling, his line-drive tool could be enough to keep pitchers honest as he comes to face more talented opponents in the next stages of his development.

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The switch-hitter stayed afloat from both sides of the dish in 2016, and in the field he saw nearly his entire workload come in centre. He’s logged close to 1000 innings at the position over the past two seasons (including a season of 10 outfield assists and three double-plays in 2014), and there appears to be hope that he can remain there longterm.

Still listed at just 155 pounds, it’s becoming less likely that Orozco adds a great deal more bulk to his 5’11” frame. This can always be overcome, of course, with an intelligent approach, high-contact bat and ability to get on base. Orozco has displayed those talents at the lower levels, but this coming campaign will be a make-or-break showcase for his prospect standing. I would expect Orozco to see an extended look with Vancouver in the Northwest League in 2016.