Armando Rodriguez Scouting Report (2010)
Entering the 2010 season, former New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya compared Armando Rodriguez to Jenrry Mejia, the top pitching prospect in the entire organization. At the time, I considered the comparison pretty silly considering Rodriguez had just received his first taste of full season baseball at nearly two years Mejia’s senior. However, his impressive showing in Savannah late in 2009 earned him a little helium within the organization.
While a little old for the South Atlantic League, Rodriguez followed up his 2009 debut by posting a 152/46 K/BB ratio with only 116 hits allowed in nearly 150 inning pitched. Having proven to be a durable minor league pitcher, does Rodriguez have the stuff to project as a big league contributor?
Physical Projection: A much better athlete than your average pitcher, Rodriguez has broad shoulders, a powerful core, and muscular physique which leaves him looking more outfielder than pitcher. This goes a long way in explaining his durability throughout the season including his final five starts where he struck out 45 in 29 innings. However, an impressive build at twenty-two speaks to a pitcher who has little projection left from a physical standpoint. Additionally, I see plenty of power in his frame and drive off of the mound, but his arm speed and explosion leaves his ability to add additional velocity iffy at best.
Mound Presence: A fierce competitor, Rodriguez attacks opponents with a three-pitch mix. He’s a battler who relies on guile over raw stuff. In game action, Rodriguez works quickly and rarely becomes rattled. In seeing him on multiple occasions, nothing stuck out as a red flag which would keep him from progressing through the system.
Fastball: One of the more consistent pitchers in the league in terms of velocity, generally sat at 90-91 MPH, occasionally touching 92. During the Sand Gnats home opener, he did touch 93 a handful of times, but he was unable to locate. At its best, the Rodriguez’ fastball bores down and in on right-handed hitters. A classic “drop-and-drive” guy, he has a tendency to overthrow which causes the ball to remain up in the zone. The pitch also lacks the downward plane one wants to see from a pitcher without plus velocity which could cause Rodriguez to be exposed at higher levels.
Slider: Improving throughout the season, the slurvy 78-81 MPH offering was the reason for his increase in strikeouts later on. With vertical run and a touch of drop, the pitch had break, just not the sharp break one wants to see from a potential out pitch. Against younger competition, the ability to throw even a below average breaking pitch for strikes can be an equalizer. In Rodriguez’ case, the pitch was fringy, but his ability to place it on the outside corner to righties was too much for South Atlantic League Hitters to handle.
Changeup: In the upper-70’s, Rodriguez’ changeup was definitely his weakest offering. Far too often, Rodriguez left the pitch up in the zone and the velocity separation was due in part to slowed arm action. In general, Rodriguez seemed to lack feel. And like so many pitchers, this was easiest to notice when throwing the change.
In 2011, Rodriguez is likely to open the season in the Port St. Lucie rotation as he continues to refine his breaking pitches. As a prospect, I consider him to be a poor man’s Jeurys Familia. Not only is Rodriguez older, but he lacks the fastball velocity and bite on breaking pitches to be considered an equivalent prospect.
If Familia’s struggles in high-A are any indication of how Rodriguez will fair, 2011 may be a rough year. On top of that, I just don’t know how I can possibly project 90-92 MPH with fringe breaking stuff as a future big leaguer. In trying to run the big league scenarios for a pitcher with his arsenal through my head, I just don’t see where he fits into a major league pitching staff.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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