2019 Level: A-
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: Middle/Long Reliever
Ceiling: Setup Reliever/5th starter
What we know: Rodriguez is a funky delivery fastball-slider guy who can throw strikes with both pitches. His fastball sits a pretty solid 92-94 though he touches 95 on occasion. There’s a little life in the end, but he does a good job of using the pitch around the edges of the zone, keeping it out of the middle well. His slider gets more downward action though there is some break as well. He likes to use it low in the zone and gets a lot of swings over the pitch from New York Penn League batters. His slider is typically in the 82-84 range though he flashed an 87 MPH wipe out slider that `was a plus pitch once. His change is firm and straight and he doesn’t have any feel for the pitch. He’s a pretty good athlete for his size and is unafraid to shake off his catcher and call his catcher out to talk if he wants to talk over something despite his limited English.
What we don’t know: Can his changeup improve enough to be playable and give him a chance to be a back of the rotation starter? Will he grow into his frame more and throw harder. Can he get a jump in velocity/stuff in a relief role?
What we think: The upside here is a guy who grows into that 6-foot-7 frame, moves to relief, and become a guy throwing mid to upper 90s stuff with a hard slider. While he could develop his change and stick as a starter, there seems to be more value in seeing what he can do out of the pen at some point. The Orioles should continue to develop him as a starter and next year will be a big year in determining his upside.
Another Take: Rodriguez can show good velocity at times, sitting 93-95 some outings as a starter. He’s a huge guy and there might be more velocity down the road. His slider is fringe average and his changeup is fringy at best but he can throw them for strikes. He throws a lot of strikes but has below average command. His long arm circle limits the potential for command improvements and the low 3/4 release gives hitters a better look than you’d expect from a 6′ 7″ pitcher. He’s a future reliever for me, where hopefully he’ll be mid-to-upper 90s with an average slider. (Luke Siler)