Rafael Angel Ortega
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 160 lb.
Signed by Colorado Rockies scouts Rolando Fernandez, Francisco Cartaya and Carlos Gomez in 2008, Ortega spent his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He hit .277/.349/.335 with 17 steals in 20 tries and 38 runs in 52 games for the 2008 DSL Rockies.
In the latter year, he hit .324/.395/.414 with 39 swipes (caught 12 times), 8 triples and 45 runs in 70 games for the DSL Rockies and was a league All-Star. He was 4th in the DSL in stolen bases and 7th in batting average. That winter, he went 1 for 5 with two walks for the Tiburones de La Guaira. Coming stateside in 2010, he led the Casper Ghosts with a .358 average, 69 runs (in 71 games), 103 hits, and 23 steals. He was caught stealing 9 times and had a .416 OBP and .510 slugging. He was among the Pioneer League leaders in average (4th), OBP (6th), runs (tied for first with Jake Lemmerman), hits (one behind leader Drew Heid), doubles (17, tied for 8th) and steals (second to Billy Hamilton). He joined Corey Dickerson and Adam Eaton as the league's All-Star outfielders. He led a Colorado farm system record for runs in a rookie league. Baseball America named him the league's #18 prospect, between Travis Witherspoon and Thomas Royse.
With the Asheville Tourists in 2011, he hit .294/.335/.438 with 8 triples, 77 runs and 32 stolen bases in 51 tries. He also had 18 assists in the outfield. He ranked 9th in the South Atlantic League in average, tied for third in triples with Jurickson Profar and David Rohm, led in outfield assists, led in times caught stealing and tied for 7th in steals (with Drew Maggi, Christian Yelich and Christian Villanueva). In the affiliated minors, he was tied for third in times caught stealing behind two players with much better steal rates - Rymer Liriano (66 SB, 21 CS) and Billy Hamilton (103 SB, 20 CS). For La Guaira that winter, he hit only .211/.287/.276.
Ortega began 2012 with the Modesto Nuts, hitting .283/.344/.410 with 8 triples, 8 home runs, 81 runs, 60 RBIs, and 36 stolen bases in 54 tries. He finished among the California League leaders in triples (tied for 6th with Cory Spangenberg), steals (5th) and caught stealing (4th). He was called up to the majors in September, going 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and a steal in his debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 30th. Hitting second, he reached his first three times against Josh Beckett before being retired late by Paco Rodriguez. He went hitless in his only other plate appearance of the year, finishing the year with a batting average of .500.
He had a total of 6 homers over 5 major league seasons when on August 1, 2021, he had a completely unexpected three-homer game for the Chicago Cubs in a 6-5 loss to the Washington Nationals. The Cubs had just gone through a fire sale - as had the Nationals, for that matter - and as a result Ortega was leading off and starting in center field. Two of the homers were hit off Erick Fedde, including one as the first batter of the game, and the third came against Wander Suero. He drove in all five of his team's runs while accounting for four of their five hits; pinch-hitter Andrew Romine got the other hit, and came in to score on his second long ball.