Jose Rodriguez, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'2
WT : 155
DOB : August 29, 1995 (20), in Ciudad Bolicar, Venezuela
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed by Lebi Ochoa and Mauro Zerpa as International Free Agent, December 3, 2012
Last Year's Ranking : Unranked
The Los Angeles Angels have drafted a high load of young arms, but it goes somewhat unnoticed how much they've invested into the international market and how much of an impact those foreign pitchers have been. Jose Rodriguez is one of the premier arms from the foreign market that wear an Angels uniform during Spring Training, and is beginning to fit the mold of a future piece that could help the big club in a few years.
Rodriguez doesn't have very impressive stuff, but registers every pitch in at an average and creates out which is where the importance shows. It all begins with his feel for pitching and natural abilities from the mound.
For an arsenal, Rodriguez uses a mix of four pitches to create outs and hitter mistakes, starting with his fastball. Velocity has ranged from year-to-year due to his physical growth, and now sits in the high 80's to low 90's. Most nights, you'll see Rodriguez working a pair of fastball - four-seam and two-seam - anywhere from 86-90.
The biggest note for Rodriguez is the feel he has for his changeup. He replicates his fastball arm speed and drops his changeup in about 10-15 MPH slower than his fastball creating early and weak contact when made.
Rodriguez has a breaking pitch that has turned into a slurve, and could play out as a slider when all is said and done. He doesn't spin the pitch off with great impact, but it does have some promise as he grows into his frame which should tighten up the pitch and create a larger break.
Rodriguez highlights all his tools with great fastball and changeup command. This should carry through his entire career and make him someone to take notice of. As he grows, velocity will come and he could be a fastball/change fly ball pitcher to mix speeds and keep batters off balance.
Something that goes unnoticed at times is communication. For foreign players, learning English can be a struggle, particularly with teammates trying to communicate in the field. This is not a problem for Rodriguez, who is fluent in English and Spanish, and helps his teammates communicate who do not speak English.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
In short time, Rodriguez proved his worth with the Dominican Summer affiliate in his first pro season, posting a 1.64 ERA and 1.023 WHIP. Rodriguez kept bats honest in his first 12 games, allowing just two runs, .189 average, and .474 OPS. As for keeping runners off the paths, Rodriguez allowed as few free passes he could, walking just 2.5 per nine and four in those first 12 games.
In his first season state side, Rodriguez saw limited time and struggles. He posted a a 4.85 ERA and allowed 11.8 hits per nine, while striking out 10 per nine. The struggles became evident as he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen, where he flipped a 2.81 ERA for an 8.10 ERA as a reliever.
This past season, Rodriguez performed well in a hitter friendly league, and the numbers flashed towards the offense. He finished the year with a 3-3 record, 4.79 ERA and 1.500 WHIP. He did collect a six-game stretch, where he held a 3.38 ERA and .277 opposing average, but the league did plague him with weaker numbers over the course of the season.
Though the numbers may not express excellence from last season, Rodriguez was around league average. He's only 20, but he may be ready to make the jump to the next level and face much tougher talent in 2016 - which means, Single-A Burlington.
Rodriguez fits the mold of a potential back end rotation arm, but needs to polish out everything and fill in to make his fastball effective against top tier bats. There's a lot of polishing to be done before Rodriguez is brought up as a future Major Leaguer, but he has many likeable tools that could turn him into just that, a future MLB pitcher.
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This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.