Lots of people who aspire to be baseball players find themselves practicing for “The Show” in their own unique ways. Those of us that are far less athletic than others can often delve into our imagination to try and pretend what it would be like to compete for that coveted spot on a big league roster. We find ourselves practicing batting stances in the cages or in our mirrors. We practice our windups in the pitching tunnels or in our mirrors. Well, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always enjoyed pretending that I could have always been that ace or slugger that people aspire to be.
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For Luis Ortiz, who became the Texas Rangers’ first round draft pick in 2014, he took those mechanics that he saw on TV and taught himself how to pitch – literally. As T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com writes, the Sanger High Schooler did not have any kind of pitching coach. Instead, he tried to model his game after watching Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, and indeed, he has the frame to match the ‘King.’ At 6’3″, 220 pounds, Ortiz is a big, power throwing righty who Jon Daniels had his eye on from the beginning of the draft.
"“I repeated myself after King Felix and did it in the mirror with repetition,” Ortiz said. “I was playing catch and long toss, that was about it. I just got on the mound and knew I could be around the plate and throw strikes. … I considered myself one of the best pitchers in the Draft.”"
Daniels and company never predicted Ortiz would be available by the time the Rangers got to pick at number 30 overall. The Rangers had a pick earlier in the draft, but that had to be sacrificed when the team signed free agent Shin-Soo Choo in the off-season. While his size may have been looked at as a detractor initially, Ortiz has shown a desire and dedication to getting himself in shape to be able to contribute at a Major League level.