Name: Jhonny Rodriguez
Height/Weight: 6’3’’, 170
How Acquired: Signed as an amateur international free agent on July 20, 2012 for $300,000
In 2012, the Oakland A’s made several international amateur free agent signings that are currently making a significant impact within the A’s minor league system. That class included shortstop Yairo Munoz, right-hander Jesus Zambrano and a sweet-swinging corner outfielder named Jhonny Rodriguez.
While Munoz and Zambrano made their US debuts in 2013 and 2014 respectively, Rodriguez played his first game in the US this year. Like Munoz and Zambrano, Rodriguez quickly made a positive impression. The then 18-year-old was one of the standouts during the A’s extended spring training camp. He played so well that A’s Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman said Rodriguez would likely have been sent to short-season Vermont had the A’s not drafted so many outfielders.
Jhonny Rodriguez Stats
“The extended spring he had when he came over in early May, he really deserved that opportunity,” Lieppman said during the season. “He played really well. He has shown flashes of being a complete player.”
Rodriguez continued to play well during the Arizona Rookie League season. In 27 games with the AZL A’s, he hit .284/.333/.450 with a homerun, two triples and 11 doubles. Unfortunately, Rodriguez had to return to his native Dominican Republic in early August because of a death in the family. He played 13 games with the DSL A’s and hit only .171/.292/.341, but he was playing under difficult circumstances emotionally.
Rodriguez returned to the US for the A’s fall Instructional League, and he continued to impress the A’s minor league coaching staff. A’s minor league field coordinator Aaron Nieckula liked what he saw from Rodriguez.
“He has a lot of bat speed and a lot of power. He’s going to be a tremendous hitter,” Nieckula said. “Once we tighten up his strike-zone and he learns how to handle the bat a little better, he’s going to be a really good hitter, no doubt about it. He’s already good for his age.”
A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens says that Rodriguez has the ability to be a solid all-around corner outfielder.
“Jhonny has a nice swing. He has a good solid base and his swing is very fluid through the strike-zone,” Owens said. “He has power potential and he defends nicely in the outfield corner. You can see him maybe in that .260-.270 range and developing into that 15-20 homerun player in the system and then hopefully see where it goes from there.”
Jhonny Rodriguez Scouting Video (video by Kimberly Contreras)
Rodriguez was one of the youngest players to sign in 2012. He didn’t turn 19 until July 20. At 6’3’’, Rodriguez is currently long-and-lean with a frame that could add significant muscle as he matures physically. He has average speed and enough of a throwing arm to make runners think twice when trying to take another base. His arm isn’t on the same level as Josh Reddick’s, but he could mature into a similar kind of player offensively.
The A’s have plenty of candidates to fill the outfield roster spots for the Low-A Beloit Snappers in 2016, but Rodriguez will be one of the players competing for a spot in the Midwest League next spring.