Luis Ortiz, the 18 year old righthanded pitcher who was the Rangers' first round choice in the 2014 draft, started his pro career as most high school picks do -- playing in a rookie league, which in Ortiz's case was the complex league in Arizona.
Ortiz was impressive in the complex league, allowing just 3 runs in 13.1 innings over 6 games while striking out 15 batters and walking just 3. He was so impressive, in fact, that the Rangers promoted him -- not to Spokane in the short-season A Northwest League, but to low-A Hickory, a two-level jump.
Ortiz made his debut for Hickory last night, and it couldn't have gone much better, as he threw three scoreless, hitless innings, with only two batters reaching base -- one on an error and one on a walk -- and two batters striking out.
Hickory actually took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Kannapolis, and ultimately won the game, 2-1.
Ortiz pitching well in his debut is a good thing, but probably more promising is the fact that the Rangers thought enough of Ortiz to put him in a full season league just a couple of months after being drafted. It isn't all that unusual for a college player to go to a full season league soon after being signed, but for a high school player, it is exceptionally rare. The fact that the Rangers think highly enough of Ortiz's makeup and ability that they have assigned him to Hickory speaks volumes.