Tirso Ornelas, OF, SD

After a lost 2019 where he bottomed out in skill, and a lost 2020 to a pandemic, how much did Tirso Ornelas look forward to 2021? Glad you asked…

Video courtesy of R McElhaney
  • Born: March 11, 2000
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • 6’3″, 200-lbs
  • Signed by the San Diego Padres in 2017 as a free agent from Mexico.

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Sometimes when you are faced with a graphic full of colors all over the place, it helps to look for commonality. Here I find it in the BB% column. Good times or bad, Tirso Ornelas will draw a walk. Goes into an IHOP, first thing he does is draw a walk from the hostess.

So while the power is up and then down and then up, and the OBP does the same, at least his batting eye is excellent. He never strikes out too much, and he always, and I mean always draws walks.

There’s that lost 2019 season. The team made him rework his swing and you can see how he struggled. The good news is that he and his new swing had a much better 2021. In fact, let’s compare apples to apples:

As he repeated High-A, his OBP went up, his power almost doubled (though it had nowhere else to go but up), his wRC+ moved slightly above average, and yes, he got his walks.

Let’s now break down his good 2021 by month to see if he simply feasted on one good month or something:

Nope, he was fairly steady all season long. His OBP actually kept climbing into the warmer months and beyond. I didn’t check the weather for Fort Wayne, Indiana in the spring of 2021, but at any rate he loved the summer months there. His power climbed as well, and his strikeouts meandered a bit, but the walks were IHOP steady.

I’ll bet the team is having him work on hitting lefties better, for he needs work there. It will be interesting to see if the power gains stick at Double-A, and if he hits lefties better. 2022 will be critical to his development.

Ornelas bats lefty, so what you see above (only through 2019) is a lack of opposite field power. That chart belongs in the dictionary under “pull power.” But as we saw above, his power did bounce back in 2021, so there’s hope.

The Scouts

Warnings

His Hard Hit% in 2021 — his good year, remember — was only 18.1%, and that’s not good. Power is not his game.

He hasn’t faced Double-A yet.

The scouts are yawning at the mention of his name.

Conclusion

He undoubtably has a great batting eye, and that will serve him well as he reaches the upper levels of the minors.

He will turn 22 shortly before his Double-A season begins, so he’s not too old. We’ve seen him now for several years, and that rough 2019 is still in the back of our minds, but focus on that 2021 and hope for better things.

He might only ever hit 10 HRs in a season (if that), but he should be able to get on base and put the ball in play if nothing else.

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