ARLINGTON, Texas -- Luis Ortiz, taken 30th overall by the Texas Rangers, says he never had a pitching coach. So how did he learn to pitch well enough to get drafted so high?
He watched Felix Hernandez and modeled his mechanics after the Cy Young Award winner.
"I repeated myself after King Felix and did it in the mirror with repetition," Ortiz said in a conference call with reporters late Thursday. "I was playing catch and long toss. That was about it. I just got on the mound and knew I could be around the plate and throw strikes."
Ortiz doesn't lack for confidence in his abilities and says he believes he can be even better with a pitching coach helping him.
"I consider myself one of the best pitchers in the draft," Ortiz said. "There are others that have the same talent -- probably better -- but I worked hard to be the pitcher I want to be."
Ortiz was 5-3 with a 1.04 ERA in 43⅔ innings in this season at Sanger (California) High School. He had 72 strikeouts and seven walks. Scouts like his power -- he throws in the low to mid-90s -- and his hard slider. General manager Jon Daniels says he believes Ortiz has pitches that are "major league" but need some seasoning.
Ortiz said he dealt with forearm tendinitis and that it "comes and goes" but isn't anything serious.
"I never said no to [taking] the ball [to pitch]," Ortiz said. "I always want the ball. I always want to compete. There comes a time when you need to say no. I came back a little too early pitching two days in a row. It wasn't too smart. I got through it and came back my last game and showed them I was really, really healthy."