Signed to a $1.5 million bonus in 2016, Ornelas is one of a few high-profile Mexican prospects in the Padres system. His mix of size, power potential, and feel for the zone excited through the low minors, though it has been a much tougher go for the 19-year-old this season in the California League.
Ornelas is still very young for High-A, overmatched by the level in the first half to the tune of a .219/.319/.293 slash line. His offensive tools haven’t translated to game action, though he’s still showing a strong ability to draw walks. Though he’s certainly better than his performance for Lake Elsinore has shown so far, Ornelas’ steps backwards at the plate are troublesome nonetheless. His swing is slower and stiffer than past looks, struggling to adjust the barrel and square up off-speed stuff. These holes were magnified against lefties, who have held Ornelas to a .182/.265/.227 line so far in 2019. His raw power is evident, with tall lines off the bat and easy carry from a physical 6-foot-3 frame. The fact he hasn’t brought almost any of that juice into game action—especially in the hitter’s paradise of the California League—underlines the degree he has struggled to make contact in 2019. Defensively, the outfielder has trimmed up his frame since turning pro and now has a chance to stay off 1B. He plays mostly RF but could end up a better fit in LF long term, with fringy range moving towards the gap despite an arm that grades as average.
Ornelas was overmatched enough in my look that I didn’t feel I got the truest look at his tools at the plate. His realistic ceiling is looking closer to a corner platoon bat that mashes righties than the FV 50/55 type of prospect we hoped for given his 2018 performance in the Midwest League. We aren’t closing the door on Ornelas given his age and power/patience profile, but his stock is unfortunately trending down.