Jays From the Couch highlights Blue Jays Rodrigo Orozco, who is having a very good season for the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts
The promotion of Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette blew a huge hole in the Lansing Lugnuts offense. It was time for Edward Olivares to take over as the big bat in the lineup but who else would step up?
I expected Joshua Palacios and JB Woodman to be those bats; however, Rodrigo Orozco has stepped out of the shadows to become another prospect to have his development jump started with the Lugnuts in 2017.
During the off-season, I had a discussion with a fellow Blue Jays fanatic about Rodrigo Orozco. Neither of us could agree exactly where prospects with Orozco’s skillset fit in the game and his place in the Blue Jays minor league depth chart.
Since becoming part of the Blue Jays organization as an 18-yr-old in 2013, Orozco has never shown much upside in the power department; however, his ability to hit for average, high OBP, and play multiple outfield positions kept us interested.
I featured Rodrigo in Part 3 of Toronto Blue Jays 2017 Non-Top Prospects: Outfielders. In the February series, I gave a brief overview of his accomplishments in the organization, their 2016 stats, and what I expected from them in 2017.
Here is what I predicted Orozco’s 2017 would look like,
Orozco situation is a hard one to decipher. He produces excellent at-bats and doesn’t strike out (13%) which has allowed him to post .350+ OBP. Unfortunately, he appears to be a low-speed singles hitter, slated for left-field. I think Orozco will start the year in Lansing as a 4th outfielder and returned to Vancouver once the short season begins. What I would do with Orozco is start him with Lansing, play him every day and see how he responds.
Orozco season didn’t get started until June 3rd, replacing the at-bats of Bradley Jones.
With a strong first month in the Midwest League, the native of Panama City quickly established his place in the Nuts offense. Orozco slashed .271/.366/.357 with 6 doubles, 11 walks and 13 strike outs in 19 games.
Rodrigo collected hits in each of his first 6 games and produced 5 multi-hit games in his first month. The 5’11” switch hitter added 7 more multi-hit games in July and slashed .297/.371/.406 with 9 doubles, a triple, 13 RBI, 12 walks, and 16 strike outs in 24 games.
July also saw the Lugs LF go 4-for-4 on July 4th, falling a home run shy of becoming the second Lugnut to hit for the cycle in 2017. There was a stretch of games (July 12th to 20) where Orozco was on fire. He collected hits in 7 straight games but in the final 3 games of the stretch, he went 4-5, 3-4, and 3-4 and raised his batting average from .256 up to .303.
Orozco continues to swing a hot bat, batting .381 with 6 walks and just 2 strike outs over his last 10 games.
The left-fielder is batting .287 with an OBP of .369 and SLG% of .386. He has 15 doubles and a triple while driving in 21 runs and scoring 24. He’s been utilized out of the leadoff spot, batting 2nd 5 times. Despite still being very good, Rodrigo has seen his BB% and K% trend the wrong way with an 11.6 BB% and a 14.6 K%. He owns a .099 ISO and .338 BABIP.
Overall, Orozco has produced above league average with a .348 wOBA and 117 wRC+.
RHP as LHB- .278 with 11 doubles and triple
LHP as RHB- .311 with 4 doubles
I was wrong in my pre-season prediction of Orozco. He never started as the Lugnuts 4th outfielder, nor did he get returned to Vancouver.
However, what I wanted to happen with Rodrigo Orozco happened. The Lugnuts played him every day and look what happened!
Orozco has put together a very good 2017 season. He should stick in Lansing for the rest of the season.
*Featured Image Credit: W Black- JFtC