The Rangers will call up infielder Jonathan Ornelas from Triple-A prior to Monday’s game with the Athletics, FanSided’s Robert Murray reports (Twitter link). Ornelas will take the roster spot of Josh Jung, as the third baseman is headed for the 10-day injured list after suffering a fractured thumb in today’s 6-0 win over the Marlins. It will mark the Major League debut for the 23-year-old Ornelas whenever he makes his first in-game appearance.
Ornelas is already on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, as Texas added him last winter in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. A third-round pick for the Rangers in the 2018 draft, Ornelas has displayed some good on-base numbers over the last two seasons in the minors, though his overall hitting profile has yet to truly develop, given his .250/.360/.348 slash line over 398 plate appearances at Triple-A this season.
This hitting potential ranks as the biggest question for MLB Pipeline (who rank Ornelas as the 14th-best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system) and Baseball America (28th). As BA’s scouting report puts it, Ornelas is “an extremely aggressive hitter who has below-average swing decisions and pitch recognition.” His hard-contact abilities are muted by his inconsistency at keeping those hard-hit balls off the ground, though he has enjoyed some high BABIPs during his minor league career. As for fielding, Baseball America gave Ornelas a modest 45 on the 20-80 scouting scale, while Pipeline was notably higher with a 60-grade for his glovework, describing Ornelas as a good utility infield candidate whose ultimate MLB future will be determined by how well he can fare at the plate.
Ornelas has mostly played shortstop in the minors, also garnering a good amount of time at second base, third base, and center field. This ability to play shortstop might be why Texas opted to promote Ornelas, as beyond Jung’s injury, Corey Seager is not yet entirely recovered from a recent thumb sprain that resulted in an IL trip. Seager didn’t play today and manager Bruce Bochy told the Associated Press and other reporters that Seager may also sit out Monday’s game for additional rest.
Ezequiel Duran is the first-choice substitute at shortstop if Seager isn’t in the lineup, but Duran and Josh H. Smith now also figure to split duties at third base in Jung’s absence. With utilityman Brad Miller also on the IL recovering from a hamstring strain, Ornelas will provide the Rangers with another multi-positional depth option as they figure out how to both fill Jung’s spot and manage Seager’s health.