Orioles draft Ortiz, highest-drafted player in NMSU history


New Mexico State baseball All-American shortstop Joey Ortiz became the highest Aggie to ever be drafted after being selected in the fourth round (108th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday afternoon in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity and the chance that the Orioles organization took on me,” Ortiz said from his home with family. I truly trust in God’s plan for me and I truly have been blessed. The real work begins now!

With his selection, Ortiz became the 80th overall Aggie to be drafted and the seventh player from NM State to be drafted by the Orioles. Former lefty Tyler Erwin was selected by the Orioles organization in 2016.


With his fourth round selection, the Aggies have now had a player drafted in the first six round for the fourth-straight year, joining Kyle Bradish (fourth round), Marcel Renteria (sixth round) and Daniel Johnson (fifth round). Ortiz is the first position player to be drafted since Johnson went to the Nationals back in 2016.


On behalf of the NM State baseball program, we would like to congratulate [Joey] Ortiz and the Ortiz family, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Davis said. Joey is a tireless worker and one of the most competitive kids that I have ever been around. He will not be denied and we can’                              t wait to follow his progress through professional baseball. Aggie Baseball will miss you dearly 8!


The Garden Grove, Calif., product was named the 2019 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year back in May after leading the league in hits (106), runs scored (85), doubles (25), triples (10) and total bases (175). Ortiz joins Johnson as the only other Aggie player to earn WAC Player of the Year accolades. Meanwhile, his 106 hits, 10 triples and 85 runs scored were a new single-season high at New Mexico State.


On the national stage, Ortiz led the country in hits (106) and runs scored (85) while checking in at second in triples (10), third in batting average (.422), third in RBI (84), fourth in doubles (25), fourth in total bases (175) and 19th in slugging percentage (.697).


His stellar season was definitely recognized around the country and saw him recently named 1-of-5 finalist for Brooks Wallace Award, which is given to the nation’s best shortstop. Ortiz is also a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy alongside his double play partner, Nick Gonzales. The Dick Howser Trophy is presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player finalists will be named on Thursday, June 6.


In his sophomore campaign, Ortiz led the Aggies to their first-ever WAC Tournament Title and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012. He thrived at the shortstop position as an everyday player, earning First-Team All-WAC honors, posting a .970 fielding percentage in 60 starts. At the plate, the righty batted .289 with 54 RBI, 68 hits and a .426 slugging percentage. His 54 RBI and 58 runs scored that year were second-best in the league while leading the team with 21 multi-hit games.


Ortiz took full advantage of his opportunity as a freshman at third base due to an injury and excelled. He only committed three errors in 54 games (53 starts) and ended the season with a .979 fielding percentage. His first year in the Crimson & White saw him bat .306 from the dish with 14 extra base hits, 35 RBI, 10 stolen bases and had 20-consecutive multi-hit games eight of which were with three-plus hits.


“Aggie Nation is happy for and proud of [Joey] Ortiz,” NM State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia noted. To be the highest MLB Draft choice in a long and successful history of Aggie baseball is a tremendous accomplishment. The Baltimore Orioles organization is obviously getting an outstanding baseball talent but also a quality person. We look forward to tracking his professional career as well as our other Aggies in professional baseball.

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