The New York Yankees are buying the contract of right-handed pitcher Kaleb Ort from the Joliet Slammers of the Independent Frontier League and signing him to a minor-league deal, league sources tell FanRag Sports.
In his age-24 season with the Joliet Slammers, Ort appeared in 20 games, starting 12, going 3-4 with a 6.05 ERA and a 61-to-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Ort struggled early on, which led to the 6.05 ERA, but in his last two starts against Washington and Schaumburg, he allowed one run and six hits in 13 innings pitched. That stretch earned Ort Pitcher of the Week honors in the Frontier League.
“My neighbors and friends texted me,” Ort told the Chicago Tribune at the time. “I was in the (trainer’s room) doing arm care. They texted, ‘Hey, congrats.’ I said ‘What are you talking about?’ I didn’t know. Then I went online and looked at the article.
“It’s exciting,” Ort said. “As a staff, us pitchers, we love it.”
Recently, Ort has been throwing 95-97 mph with a plus slider in exhibition games and has attracted the attention of scouts in the major leagues, with one person who has been around the situation saying the scouts have been “at all of his outings.”
It’s unclear what the Yankees have in mind for Ort, but it would seem his chances of making the major-league roster at any point are slim.
So far in 2017, the Yankees are 22-13 and lead the American League East over the Baltimore Orioles by half a gam, with the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays also trailing.