BLUF: Improved stuff combined with previous polish allow for a 3rd or 4th starter projection.
The Player: Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP, Baltimore Orioles) – Debuted in the DSL in 2010, making 12 starts with a 2.33 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning while allowing only 49 hits in 65.2 frames. Stateside in 2011, he handled another 44.2 innings in the GCL with a 1.81 ERA before a one-start cameo in the NYPL where he was knocked around for three runs on six hits in four innings. Rodriguez jumped to the South Atlantic League as a 19-year old in 2012 and started 22 games with a 3.70 ERA, less than a hit per inning, only 2.5 walks per nine innings and over six strikeouts per nine.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-2, 180): Good frame. Needs to continue adding strength. Nice projection and has filled out well already. Conditioning has improved.
Delivery/Mechanics: Quick-paced delivery with consistent tempo. Doesn’t always open up enough to the plate and will land toward 1B at times, but that adds to deception. Delivery has natural deception. Ball jumps out of his hand.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 95, Low – 88, Average 91-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 94, Low 89, Average 90-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Easy velocity with natural life. Ball naturally has some arm-side movement and often enough to “swing back” on the outside corner and catch hitters off guard. Movement seems more impressive because of deception and late look at the ball. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Nice pitch that has developed nicely with his physical progress. Previously below-average and now consistently average with projection remaining. Could still bulk up some as he will enter spring training still just 19-years old. Velo projection reaches into the plus range. Sitting 93-94 down the line is a possibility. Combined with movement, easy plus projection. Grade – 50/60
Slider (SL): Very much improved from 2011 to 2012. Showed more consistent velo in the low-80s and more consistent tighter spin. Two-plane breaker with above-average potential if you dream on it enough. Still generally below-average but regularly flashes better. Possible quality second pitch that induces weak contact and can miss bats. Grade – 40/50
Change-Up (CH): Added strength and subsequent velo bump has hampered development of CH. Occasional spurts with a really nice CH that earns some plus projections, but these are rare. More modest opinions see it as a future average pitch with good sink and some minor fade. Arm speed fluctuates but he shows improving feel and increased confidence. Grade – 30/50
Control: Strike throwing was significantly improved in 2012, particularly in light of the physical gains he made as well. He has adapted to his newfound strength quickly and the alterations to his delivery have been relatively seamless, leading to average control now and likely continued improvements with maturity. Grade – 50/60
Command: Mechanical changes and adaptations to physical changes have allowed him to drastically improve his command profile. He located his fastball to both sides of the plate better in 2012, but still struggled with elevating when he needed to. Command of the SL and CH lag behind. Has average projection given current control profile and strides made at such a young age. Grade – 30/50
Summation: Really nice overall profile. Potential solid-average to plus three-pitch mix with all three pitches being useable in any count. FB continues to improve with physical maturation. Easy plus projection that is cemented with swing-back movement. Very nice pitch that can work well against LHH and RHH. Needs to work in with FB more to RHH. SL and CH both show promise and could be average pitches. Neither shows particular promise as a future out-pitch, more solid offerings to round out an arsenal behind a plus FB. Command and control have positive projection and really can help the profile. Never going to miss a ton of bats but should be competitive and keep his team in games. Solid 3/4 starter piece at peak.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Solid profile with nothing flashy and has made enough strides already to solidify projection.
Future: Should head to High-A to start the 2013 season and despite turning 20-years old around Opening Day, he could see Double-A before the end of the season. Polish and stuff both continue to improve and he could reach the big leagues as a 21-year old sometime late in the 2014 season.