Deniel Ortiz, Hunter Hodges earn MLB Draft League opening week honors

Ortiz and Hodges named Draft League Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively
Draft League Weekly Honors June 4-9 2024

NEW YORK -- The MLB Draft League announced that State College’s Deniel Ortiz and West Virginia’s Hunter Hodges were named Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the period of June 4-9.

Ortiz, 20, earned Hitter of the Week honors for the first week of the MLB Draft League season after batting .550 (11-for-20) with one home run and seven RBI in six games for the Spikes. He led all MLB Draft League hitters during the period in average, runs scored (tied-8) and slugging percentage (tied-.750). Ortiz also ranked second in the Draft League in hits (tied-11), total bases (15), walks (8) and OPS (1.417).

Ortiz hit safely and recorded at least one walk in all six games for the Spikes during the Draft League’s opening week, led by four mult-ihit performances. After entering as a pinch-hitter and going 1-for-1 with a walk and a stolen base against Trenton on June 4, Ortiz posted back-to-back 2-for-3 games, totaling four walks and three RBI in the two contests to close out State College’s series against the Thunder. Ortiz connected on his first home run of the season Friday, launching a 410-foot solo shot to right-center field as part of a 3-for-4 performance that included three runs scored and a walk. He was 3-for-9 with a double, three RBI and four runs scored over the series’ final two games and delivered a walk-off single Sunday to extend the Spikes’ winning streak to five games.

A Caguas, Puerto Rico native, Ortiz was named the TCCAA Player of the Year this spring as a sophomore at Walters State CC (Tenn.) after batting .401 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI for the Senators. Ortiz led the conference in home runs, RBI, OBP (.538), walks (46) and runs (70). Last summer, Ortiz led the Appalachian League in home runs (10) as a member of the Kingsport Axmen, batting .319/.455/.580 with 30 RBI and 14 steals in 44 games en route to Appy League All-Star and All-Appalachian League Team honors.

Hodges, 21, took home Pitcher of the Week honors after he posted a 1.80 ERA with one save in 5.0 innings across two appearances for the Black Bears. The right-handed reliever led all Draft League pitchers with 13 strikeouts during the period, allowing one earned run on two hits and four walks. Hodges’ .118 BAA was the lowest among all Draft League pitchers who logged at least 5.0 innings during opening week.

Hodges earned the save for West Virginia on June 5 after tossing the final three innings against Frederick. He racked up seven strikeouts in the scoreless outing, allowing zero hits and two walks. Pitching against State College on June 8, Hodges recorded all six outs via the strikeout while permitting one earned run on two hits and two walks in two innings.

A Wilmington, N.C., native, Hodges appeared in 18 games as a Texas Christian senior this past spring, posting a 1.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. Before joining the Horned Frogs, Hodges compiled a 4.25 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings in two seasons at UNC-Wilmington. He was 5-5 with 10 saves in 51 appearances, all as a reliever.

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