#31: Armando Rodriguez Scouting Report

While the starting rotation changed around him throughout the 2010 season, Armando Rodriguez was a source of stability for the Savannah Sand Gnats last season. Rodriguez had his own ups and downs, but the right-hander's performance down the stretch ultimately proved extremely very significant. Check out his scouting report to find out what made him so valuable.

Vital Statistics
Name: Armando Rodriguez
DOB: January 28, 1988
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 200
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (6/6/2007)

For most pitchers, one's first turn through the long season leagues is a challenging on. Not only do the innings and total starts go up, but pitchers must adapt to a stronger collection of hitters across the board and the dance that ensues between pitcher and hitter over the course of a full season. Right-hander Armando Rodriguez got a dose of all that with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2010.

Rodriguez, something of a late arrival after pitching his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League as a 19 and 20-year-old in 2007 and 2008, impressed in his first season stateside in 2009 pitching mostly in short-season ball with Kingsport. The 2010 season and a spot at the front of the Savannah rotation brought new demands and expectations upon him.

"I learned a lot from all the pitching coaches on how to be mentally prepared for the game," Rodriguez told Inside Pitch Magazine earlier in the season. "The coaches talked to me about that during spring training and I think I improved on that the most."

Mental fortitude served Rodriguez well. While the rotation around him changed throughout the season, the right-hander remained and served as a model of consistency for a club which contended in the South Atlantic League playoffs. While his win loss record did not stand out (8-9), he pitched to a 3.08 ERA over 27 starts, struck out 152 batters in 146 innings pitched and limited the opposition to a .214 average. Plus, Rodriguez did not surrender a home run over his final 73 innings pitched.

But it was not all smooth sailing. As can be expected in one's first tour through a long season league, Rodriguez hit a mid-summer wall. Four losses in five July starts rattled the right-hander a bit. With Savannah already ticketed for a post-season berth at the time, it was the coaches responsibility to get their second-half ace on track.

"He hit a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the season," said Savannah manager Pedro Lopez. "He can be an emotional pitcher at times and when he lost a couple of starts in a row, we needed to get him headed back in the right direction. He was our number one guy for the second half and once he settled down he started to pitch like it. He was getting stronger deeper into games and he got better as the year went on. That's something you want to see out of a young pitcher."

The next step is continuing that improvement in what will be a start at another new level. The Florida State League has a way of filtering out starting pitching talent, so eyes will be on Rodriguez to see if he can carry his strong finish in Savannah down the coast to St. Lucie.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2010

Savannah

8-9

0

146.0

116

46

152

3.08

2009

Savannah

2-1

0

16.2

5

9

24

2.16

2009

Kingsport

3-1

0

45.2

39

20

36

2.96

2008

DSL

4-4

0

72.0

48

22

81

2.63



Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball: Rodriguez's most relied upon pitch is his fastball which was clocked at 89-93 MPH during the season. Reports had him 92-95 MPH last season but multiple reports this season had him in the 89-93 MPH range as late as the Instructional League. The fastball has shown flashes of natural running action down in the zone but the movement is not consistent enough to generate a high ground ball ratio. He decreased the use of his fastball as he grew more comfortable with his secondary pitches, but when he loses the feel for his breaking ball, Rodriguez will lean heavily on the heater. One strength of his fastball is that he showed more consistent velocity deeper into the game during the second half of the season.

Other Pitches: When not using the fastball, Rodriguez goes to a high-70s to low-80s slider that improved over the course of the season. He did a better job creating the late bite necessary to miss bats. Coaches indicated that his spike in strikeout ratio in the second half can be attributed to the improvements of his slider. It is not a plus offering but the steps he made with it are important and bode well for the future. His high-70s changeup is still very much a work in progress. He has shown trouble keeping it down in the zone which left it looking like a batting practice fastball at times.

Pitching: Given the lack of a true third pitch, Rodriguez's formula is pretty simple. He attacks with the fastball, challenging hitters early in the count, before turning to his slider when ahead in the count. He does not generate a high number of ground balls which has forced him to rely on the strikeout too much at times. That caused him to nibble earlier in the year which affected his pitch counts. As he moves forward, improving consistency with his slider and generating more movement on his fastball will be key to his success.

Projection: If and/or when Rodriguez develops his changeup will likely be the deciding factor in his ability to stay in the rotation. He boasts good physical strength and his arm strength, durability not sheer velocity, is his most attractive attribute. If he can build on that and keep his velocity in the low-90s, his fastball/slider combination could be enough to get him to the big leagues as a bullpen asset. He will need a significant jump with the changeup to get to New York as a starter.

ETA: 2013. Rodriguez will break camp with St. Lucie next season and depending on the start he has, a move up to Binghamton at some point cannot be ruled out. He will be 23 next season so there should be some initiative to get him up the system if he has a strong start to the year. With his more long term projection pointing to relief, a couple more seasons fine tuning his stuff should be applicable before he gets his shot in the Mets bullpen in 2013.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Armando Rodriguez
\r\nDOB: January 28, 1988
\r\nHeight: 6'2\"
\r\nWeight: 200
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nStatus: Free Agent Signing (6/6/2007)
\r\n
\r\nFor most pitchers, one's first turn through the long season leagues is a challenging on. Not only do the innings and total starts go up, but pitchers must adapt to a stronger collection of hitters across the board and the dance that ensues between pitcher and hitter over the course of a full season. Right-hander Armando Rodriguez got a dose of all that with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2010.
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez, something of a late arrival after pitching his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer League as a 19 and 20-year-old in 2007 and 2008, impressed in his first season stateside in 2009 pitching mostly in short-season ball with Kingsport. The 2010 season and a spot at the front of the Savannah rotation brought new demands and expectations upon him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned a lot from all the pitching coaches on how to be mentally prepared for the game,\" Rodriguez told Inside Pitch Magazine earlier in the season. \"The coaches talked to me about that during spring training and I think I improved on that the most.\"
\r\n
\r\nMental fortitude served Rodriguez well. While the rotation around him changed throughout the season, the right-hander remained and served as a model of consistency for a club which contended in the South Atlantic League playoffs. While his win loss record did not stand out (8-9), he pitched to a 3.08 ERA over 27 starts, struck out 152 batters in 146 innings pitched and limited the opposition to a .214 average. Plus, Rodriguez did not surrender a home run over his final 73 innings pitched.
\r\n
\r\nBut it was not all smooth sailing. As can be expected in one's first tour through a long season league, Rodriguez hit a mid-summer wall. Four losses in five July starts rattled the right-hander a bit. With Savannah already ticketed for a post-season berth at the time, it was the coaches responsibility to get their second-half ace on track.
\r\n
\r\n\"He hit a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the season,\" said Savannah manager Pedro Lopez. \"He can be an emotional pitcher at times and when he lost a couple of starts in a row, we needed to get him headed back in the right direction. He was our number one guy for the second half and once he settled down he started to pitch like it. He was getting stronger deeper into games and he got better as the year went on. That's something you want to see out of a young pitcher.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe next step is continuing that improvement in what will be a start at another new level. The Florida State League has a way of filtering out starting pitching talent, so eyes will be on Rodriguez to see if he can carry his strong finish in Savannah down the coast to St. Lucie.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Savannah

\r\n

\r\n 8-9

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 146.0

\r\n

\r\n 116

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n 152

\r\n

\r\n 3.08

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Savannah

\r\n

\r\n 2-1

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 16.2

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 24

\r\n

\r\n 2.16

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Kingsport

\r\n

\r\n 3-1

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 45.2

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 20

\r\n

\r\n 36

\r\n

\r\n 2.96

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n DSL

\r\n

\r\n 4-4

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 72.0

\r\n

\r\n 48

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 81

\r\n

\r\n 2.63


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup
\r\n
\r\nFastball: Rodriguez's most relied upon pitch is his fastball which was clocked at 89-93 MPH during the season. Reports had him 92-95 MPH last season but multiple reports this season had him in the 89-93 MPH range as late as the Instructional League. The fastball has shown flashes of natural running action down in the zone but the movement is not consistent enough to generate a high ground ball ratio. He decreased the use of his fastball as he grew more comfortable with his secondary pitches, but when he loses the feel for his breaking ball, Rodriguez will lean heavily on the heater. One strength of his fastball is that he showed more consistent velocity deeper into the game during the second half of the season.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches: When not using the fastball, Rodriguez goes to a high-70s to low-80s slider that improved over the course of the season. He did a better job creating the late bite necessary to miss bats. Coaches indicated that his spike in strikeout ratio in the second half can be attributed to the improvements of his slider. It is not a plus offering but the steps he made with it are important and bode well for the future. His high-70s changeup is still very much a work in progress. He has shown trouble keeping it down in the zone which left it looking like a batting practice fastball at times.
\r\n
\r\nPitching: Given the lack of a true third pitch, Rodriguez's formula is pretty simple. He attacks with the fastball, challenging hitters early in the count, before turning to his slider when ahead in the count. He does not generate a high number of ground balls which has forced him to rely on the strikeout too much at times. That caused him to nibble earlier in the year which affected his pitch counts. As he moves forward, improving consistency with his slider and generating more movement on his fastball will be key to his success.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: If and/or when Rodriguez develops his changeup will likely be the deciding factor in his ability to stay in the rotation. He boasts good physical strength and his arm strength, durability not sheer velocity, is his most attractive attribute. If he can build on that and keep his velocity in the low-90s, his fastball/slider combination could be enough to get him to the big leagues as a bullpen asset. He will need a significant jump with the changeup to get to New York as a starter.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2013. Rodriguez will break camp with St. Lucie next season and depending on the start he has, a move up to Binghamton at some point cannot be ruled out. He will be 23 next season so there should be some initiative to get him up the system if he has a strong start to the year. With his more long term projection pointing to relief, a couple more seasons fine tuning his stuff should be applicable before he gets his shot in the Mets bullpen in 2013.
\r\n
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