Meet Kaleb Ort, the other pitching prospect Red Sox stole from Yankees

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Tomase: Meet Kaleb Ort, the other prospect the Sox stole from Yankees originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Garrett Whitlock might not be the only treasure the Boston Red Sox plundered from the New York Yankees this winter. Manager Alex Cora would like to thank them for Kaleb Ort, too.

If you've haven't heard of Ort, don't be surprised if that soon changes. The 29-year-old right-hander joined the Red Sox in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft from the same Yankees system that gave them Whitlock in the regular Rule 5.

All Ort has done since is record four saves while striking out nine and walking none in six innings at Triple-A Worcester, catching the eye of Cora and even inspiring him to place a call to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

Tomase: These Red Sox prospects are making serious cases for promotion

"Actually, when we went to New York I gave Cash a call and said, 'Man, those two guys are amazing. Thank you,'" Cora said. "Jokingly, I said, 'Thank you.'"

With the Red Sox bullpen desperately in need of reliable arms, Ort may soon get a look. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder features an upper-90s fastball, and more importantly, he is showing signs of harnessing his command. He opened eyes in Fort Myers and has continued to do so with the WooSox.

"He's a guy that got my attention in spring training, just like Garrett," Cora said. "Great citizen in the clubhouse, in the weight room, in the training room. He's a good one. His stuff plays. I really liked what I saw. Velocity got better in spring training. He was throwing the ball well down there. He's a guy that we're looking at, obviously, for the right reasons. We're very excited what he's doing, what he did in spring training, and what he can do probably in the future."

Presents from the pinstripes

Whitlock's ERA with Red Sox (20.1 IP)

1.77

Ort's ERA with WooSox (6 IP)

0.00

Variation

Double

Ort hasn't followed a traditional path to the cusp of the big leagues. He went undrafted out of Aquinas College after blowing out his elbow as a senior, and he was pitching for the Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League when the Yankees signed him at age 25 in 2017.

He didn't reach Triple-A until 2019, but over his three seasons in the Yankees system, Ort showed an ability to record strikeouts (12.7 per nine innings) that was counterbalanced by a vexing lack of command (5.2 walks per nine).

That pattern continued in spring training, where he struck out eight and walked four in six innings, allowing just one run, but he has tightened things up at Worcester.

"The guy that's really stood out to me is Kaleb Ort," WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott said recently. "He's taken the closer role and has run with it. He's come in and slammed the door without really any threat of a hiccup at all. He's throwing strikes, he's aggressive -- he's been impressive."

Maybe impressive enough to land in Boston and join Whitlock, another former Yankees farmhand, in the Red Sox bullpen.