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  • Get to Know Twins Draft Pick Jorel Ortega

    Ted Schwerzler

    When you have the best college baseball team in the country there’s going to be more than a handful of draft picks selected from it. The Minnesota Twins dipped into the Tennessee Volunteers roster when they selected infielder Jorel Ortega with their 6th round pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball draft.

    Image courtesy of Andrew Ferguson, Tennessee Athletics

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    As a collegiate player, Jorel Ortega has already had to deal with adversity after Tommy John surgery kept him out for a year and his career has amounted to basically the 2022 season. Clearly, he is not someone to allow that to define him, however, as Ortega broke out with power production this year and posted more extra-base hits than strikeouts. His bat often produces loud contact, and he was certainly fun to watch as the Volunteers often trounced their opponents this season.

    Now eyeing an opportunity at the next level, Ortega answered a few questions before he gets going.

    Twins Daily: Talk about a massive rise from Tommy John and then just 27 ABs in 2021 to a breakout year last year. What helped you get there both mentally and physically?

    Jorel Ortega: Physically, I was just trying to be in the best athletic shape I could. Working on my craft, stronger, faster, more explosive, etc. Mentally, I just changed the way of looking at things. Worry only about things that I can control and only have positive thoughts. Kinda like the saying “fake it until you make it." Just worry about things in my control and enjoy everything I’m doing. Be myself and that really helped me a lot. I knew the skill set was there I just needed to make a change mentality-wise. 

    TD: The power really jumped last season. Was there a swing adjustment you made or what was your process playing into that growth?

    JO: I didn’t really change anything in my swing. That’s why I like Tennessee so much. They don’t try to mess with your stance, instead, they help you maximize your potential within that stance. I was just more concentrating on doing damage on pitches I can and drive the ball using the whole field.

    TD: Nearly a .400 OBP and compiling fewer strikeouts than extra-base hits, what makes you so successful from a contact perspective at the dish?

    JO: Honestly, what I think helps me so much is the fact that I hate striking out. But also, I’m not afraid to hit with two strikes because I can be just as dangerous of a hitter with two strikes. I want to give a really good quality AB and put the ball in play. 

    TD: You played on one of the best college baseball teams we've ever seen last season. What was that experience like and how does it prepare you for the next level?

    JO: It was an awesome experience being part of it. I don’t think I’ll experience something like that for a while. Team chemistry was insane and we just wanted it bad. Grinding on and off the field together. And I think that helps me for the next level because being around so much talent and being able to pick some of the guys' brain's for me to learn. 

    TD: What do you know about the Minnesota Twins? Have you ever been to Target Field?

    JO: I know that they take really good care of their players since I have a couple of old friends in their organization. It’s a great organization and I’m excited to get started.  And I have never been to Target Field. 

    TD: If there's something you want Twins Territory to know about you as a person or player, what is it?

    JO: As y’all know, Tennessee fan base is crazy and the best in college. How’s the fan base for the Twins?

    Certainly sounds like a response is needed at the end Twins fans. I think Jorel Ortega is a guy Twins Territory needs to get behind!


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    When looking at his season, for a top program, in a top conference, I'm sure he would have been picked higher than the 6th round if he had "done it" before. 

    This time next year I think he's going to "do it" again. I really like this guy and I think he might be a major steal.

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