Right-handed pitcher Jio Orozco came to the New York Yankees via trade in August of 2016 when the Bronx Bombers sent outfielder Ben Gamel to the Seattle Mariners. Orozco came over with fellow righty Juan De Paula.
At the time of the trade Orozco was considered the 24th best prospect in the Seattle Mariners farm system by Baseball America. Seattle originally drafted in in the 14th round of the 2015 draft out of Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona where he was a teammate of fellow Yankees prospect Donny Sands.
After signing with the Mariners, Orozco reported to the Arizona League where he made his professional debut with the Arizona League Mariners. He went 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings over eight games that season, starting just three games.
Orozco was almost perfect that season at home for the AZL Mariners, with a 1-0 record and a 0.00 ERA allowing just one hit and one walk in 7 1/3 innings.
In 2016, Orozco returned to the Arizona League where he went 2-2 with a 4.07 ERA over 12 games. The right-hander struck out a career-high of nine batters a game twice, once on July 16 against the Indians and once on August 28 against the Rangers.
2017 was Orozco’s first season with the Yankees, and the Bombers were aggressive with his assignment, having him start the season in the South Atlantic League with the Charleston RiverDogs.
He started 12 games for the RiverDogs where he struck out 48 batters in 56 1/3 innings while earning a 4.95 ERA.
On June 21 the Yankees decided to send Orozco down to the Appalachian League to work on some changes, there his season turned around and after five games, four starts, he struck out 26 batters in 26 2/3 innings and earned a 2.36 ERA.
His success there earned him a promotion to Staten Island of the NY-Penn League on July 22. There he went 3-1 with a 2.04 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.
Orozco has the potential to become an impact arm, with a fastball that already has touched as high as 95 miles per hour and two secondary pitches in his curveball and changeup.
He is still young, just turned 20-years old in August, so he still has plenty of time to develop. Right now he still needs to work on his control, having walked 65 batters in 118 1/3 innings in 2017.
Orozco is still working to find consistency, while his curveball is a putaway pitch he uses his changeup as his primary, secondary pitch because he has found it easier to keep it in the zone.
Orozco will likely begin the 2018 season with a return trip to the South Atlantic League with the Charleston RiverDogs. He has worked hard in Staten Island and Pulaski to turn his game around, and he will want to bring that with him to Charleston for another shot at full season ball.