LHP Eduardo Rodriguez made his Eastern League (AA) debut last night for the Bowie Baysox, causing a large cast of scouts to flock in attendance. I counted close to 25 scouts at the game, possibly indicating that…
1) Teams are interested in Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline
2) Eduardo Rodriguez is a legitimate prospect
3) The Orioles could possibly float him in a deal at the deadline if they desired
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The 20 year old lefty flashed his solid arsenal on this night, proving that AA was not too much for him. He is listed as 6’2″ 200 lbs on the Baysox website, but he does not look this big. He has a good and slender frame that may some have room for growth, but probably not an extraordinary amount. His delivery is a little funky, with him sometimes having difficulty repeating it. He also collapses on his delivery at times, which hurts his command and makes him drag his pitches too much. Of course, we should remember that this is a 20 year old at AA, which makes it MUCH easier to be forgiving on mechanical issues. It is important to note that the delivery is a hindrance to some, and I have had a few scouts tell me it is a reason they think he could end up as a bullpen guy in the majors. It’s way too early to think on that note though, so do not linger on that.
It wasn’t the best start in the world by Rodriguez, but he was able to hold his ground. He clearly had some command troubles and looked to be a little too amped up for his AA debut. He was displaying great velocity and life on his fastball in the first inning, sitting 92-94 while touching 95 mph. He came back down to earth in the latter innings, sitting more around 91-93. In the fifth inning he ran out of steam and was 89-92. He surrendered a home run on a flat fastball in the fifth, which I have circled below on the pitch chart.
Overall, there is a ton to be excited about with the lefty from Venezuela. He has a solid arsenal and the velocity is legitimate. His secondary pitches are better than what I have seen in the past, and both proved to be strong enough against better competition at AA. I do worry about his ability to get through a lineup a few times at the next level. The stuff is good, but the velocity needs to stick longer than just four innings. He is young, so there is time for his stamina to grow. Either way, AA is the right place for him right now in my eyes. Even if he struggles, I think he has more to learn at AA against better competition than just sticking at Frederick (A+) and throwing another 50+ innings with a 2.50-3.00 ERA. Eduardo Rodriguez is a top 10 Orioles prospect, and arguably a top 100 prospect in the minors (depending on who is speaking).
FB: 92-94 mph while touching 95 in first. Fell to 91-93 in second and third, and 89-92 in fourth and fifth innings. Fastball has late movement and run with some sink.
CH: 81-86 mph with plus fade, pulls the string well. Hides well off the FB. Inconsistent.
SL: 82-86 mph with some good, late break. Dips hard and has good spin. Pitch is sometimes left flat. Definitely has room for potential refinement
1st Inning: 31 pitches (26 FB, 3 CH, 2 SL)
2nd Inning: 12 pitches (11 FB, 0 CH, 1 SL)
3rd Inning: 20 pitches (12 FB, 4 CH, 4 SL)
4th Inning: 8 pitches (4 FB, 1 CH, 3 SL)
5th Inning: 19 pitches (12 FB, 3 CH, 4 SL)
Total: 90 pitches, 57 Strikes (65 FB, 11 CH, 14 SL)
Final Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 5 K