Cubs outfielder Rafael Ortega fractured his left ring finger throughout tonight’s contest with the Mets, relays Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic (Twitter link). The harm is predicted to finish his 2022 season.
Ortega suffered the harm whereas trying to put down a bunt in opposition to Jacob deGrom. He was instantly changed by Michael Hermosillo, who’s a candidate to imagine the vacated middle subject reps for the season’s last few weeks. Utilityman Christopher Morel has additionally performed a good quantity of middle subject this yr, however defensive metrics have panned his work there (and certainly throughout the diamond). Chicago additionally has rookie Nelson Velázquez on the lively roster, however he’s struggled offensively at each the MLB and Triple-A ranges this yr.
Signed to a minor league deal over the 2020-21 offseason, Ortega cracked the massive league roster in Might 2021. The journeyman impressed throughout his first season on the North Aspect, hitting a career-best .291/.360/.463 with 11 house runs and 12 stolen bases. A .349 batting common on balls in play actually propped up these outcomes, however Ortega had a good mix of contact abilities and energy that earned him a everlasting roster spot.
Ortega retained that job and has tallied a profession excessive 371 journeys to the plate this yr. His offensive output has dipped from final yr’s heights, as he carries a .241/.311/.358 line. The batted ball fortune has swung in the other way, as Ortega has posted a below-average .285 BABIP this yr. He’s nonetheless drawn walks at a sturdy 11.9% clip whereas solely putting out 19.9% of the time.
The 31-year-old is a digital lock to achieve arbitration for the primary time this offseason as a Tremendous Two qualifier. He’s controllable by 2026, however the Cubs may entertain commerce provides this winter given his age and the crew’s retooling standing. Ortega’s able to protecting all three outfield spots and provides a high-contact lefty bat that might make him a good fourth outfield possibility for a contender. The offseason middle subject market is sort of skinny past Aaron Judge and Brandon Nimmo, so it’s attainable groups looking for depth on the place may take into account Ortega, assuming the finger harm isn’t anticipated to have an effect on his readiness for subsequent Spring Coaching.