5"11" 185 lbs DOB: 7/3/1987
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
2009: Hudson Valley
Acquired: 2009 Draft, 16th Round, 499th Overall
When the Rays plucked Bortnick out of Coastal Carolina University in the 16th round, I wrote in my live blog of the draft that "he's a college senior 2nd baseman, so he is what he is. Organization filler, realistically."
Two things happened since then that have changed my mind. One, Jeff Sackmann at TheHardballTimes listed Bortnick as the top defensive collegiate shortstop in the 2007-08 span. I'm skeptical of defensive stats even at the major-league level, so I don't know quite what to make of them at the college level. Bortnick was moved to 2nd base for his senior season at CCU, but the Rays moved him back to shortstop once he was drafted, playing 43 of his 65 games with the Renegades there.
Bortnick also hit way better than I expected in his debut. He hit for contact(.300) average, flashed some power(17 doubles, four triples, and four homeruns in 217 at bats), and even stole 24 bases. He also showed the ability to draw walks(27 of them), helping him to a .386 on-base average. I asked about him in the New York-Penn League top 20 prospects chat, and Aaron Fitt said: "Bortnick's just a solid player who can hold his own all around the infield, he runs OK, and he's a decent gap hitter. I could see a future as a utilityman, but his tools aren't loud enough to suggest he'll be an everyday player."
Of course, the 16th round isn't where you expect to find everyday players, and his future almost certainly is as a utility man(he also saw time at third base and second base with the Renegades). The normal caveat about his statline applies, since he was 21/22 years old in the short-season NY-P League, and his BABIP of .349 suggests he was getting a little bit lucky. But his statline indicates that he doesn't have a glaring weakness, and his defense appears to be at least above average. In a game that broadcast via Twitter by the Renegades, I noticed that Bortnick was a very smooth fielder(again, that's a one-game sample size).
As Fitt noted, he doesn't have the tools to turn into a star. But if Bortnick can become a good fielder at three infield positions and maintain solid production at the plate, then he'd be a legitimate prospect, even in just a utility sense. With Shawn O'Malley ticketed for Montgomery and Tim Beckham for Charlotte, Bortnick will probably spend the entire 2010 season with Bowling Green. But if he hits well with the Hod Rods, it wouldn't surprise me to see Bortnick promoted to the Stone Crabs to play second and third base and occasionally spell Beckham at shortstop.