Rodriguez Quietly Improving

BROOKLYN, NY - Javier Rodriguez was a second round pick in 2008, but it has been a lot of work and four seasons before he finally began to show it. The tide is starting to turn in Rodriguez's career, especially now in Brooklyn where he is putting together a strong finish to his season.

As a second round draft pick, the expectations for outfielder Javier Rodriguez were very high right from the start, despite being just a teenager when he was drafted. Living up to them has been a challenge but J-Rod, who's currently in his fourth year in the Mets organization, is continuing to improve each and every day.

It all started when the Mets drafted Rodriguez 68th overall in the 2008 amateur draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Upon signing, he was assigned to the GCL Mets.

In his first stint as a professional ball player at only 18 years old, Rodriguez struggled, managing only a .193 batting average in 135 at-bats. But in 2009, he took a small step forward when he hit .230 in 139 at-bats with the GCL Mets.

From there, the Mets finally began to see some of the true potential Rodriguez demonstrated when they drafted him. Rodriguez spent all of 2010 with Kingsport and saw his batting average jump to .319, which ranked fifth in the Appalachian League. In addition to being named to the 2010 Appalachian League All-Star Team, he also had two separate nine-game hitting streaks during the season.

Earlier this year, Rodriguez spent some time in Savannah after beginning each of the three previous seasons in Extended Spring Training.

"It was a little bit different," Rodriguez said about the change. "But you still want to do the same thing, which is to get as many good swings as possible and prepare for the regular season."

Now, the 21-year-old Puerto Rican is once again showing off some of his potential as a member of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Although his current .258 batting average isn't up to par with his 2010 campaign, Rodriguez is hitting .324 over his last 10 games and has a .352 on base percentage for the year.

"I try to keep my swing level all the time," Rodriguez said. "If I can keep that steady over the season, I know I'll have some good results. Just hit for line drives and the rest will come. I feel stronger and I've gotten more confident every day."

Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly has noticed the progress Rodriguez has made at the plate during his first season in Brooklyn.

"He's gotten better and better since he first got here," Donnelly said of Rodriguez. "He's got some pop in his bat but the key for him has been making solid contact. He's a natural athlete and definitely has the tools, he's just got to stay consistent."

A big factor in Rodriguez's success this year stems from the amount of playing time he's gotten. He leads the Cyclones this season in games played and at-bats. In turn, that has landed Rodriguez in the top three on the team in hits, doubles, triples, homeruns and RBIs.

"It helps a lot to be out there every day," he said. "I've gotten more comfortable as a hitter and like where my game is at right now. But like I said, for me, it's all about keeping the swing level at the plate."

Defensively, Rodriguez has come a long way since first entering the organization. "I focus on my defense just as much as anything," he said. "It's my job to make every play that comes my way. You have to always stay focused and determined during drills before the game and then carry that same intensity into the game."

Rodriguez has seen his game grow by leaps and bounds each year he's been a part of the Mets organization and his willingness to improve his game foreshadows that that trend will only continue.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAs a second round draft pick, the expectations for outfielder Javier Rodriguez were very high right from the start, despite being just a teenager when he was drafted. Living up to them has been a challenge but J-Rod, who's currently in his fourth year in the Mets organization, is continuing to improve each and every day.\r\n

\r\nIt all started when the Mets drafted Rodriguez 68th overall in the 2008 amateur draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Upon signing, he was assigned to the GCL Mets. \r\n

\r\nIn his first stint as a professional ball player at only 18 years old, Rodriguez struggled, managing only a .193 batting average in 135 at-bats. But in 2009, he took a small step forward when he hit .230 in 139 at-bats with the GCL Mets.\r\n

\r\nFrom there, the Mets finally began to see some of the true potential Rodriguez demonstrated when they drafted him. Rodriguez spent all of 2010 with Kingsport and saw his batting average jump to .319, which ranked fifth in the Appalachian League. In addition to being named to the 2010 Appalachian League All-Star Team, he also had two separate nine-game hitting streaks during the season.\r\n

\r\nEarlier this year, Rodriguez spent some time in Savannah after beginning each of the three previous seasons in Extended Spring Training.\r\n

\r\n \"It was a little bit different,\" Rodriguez said about the change. \"But you still want to do the same thing, which is to get as many good swings as possible and prepare for the regular season.\"\r\n

\r\nNow, the 21-year-old Puerto Rican is once again showing off some of his potential as a member of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Although his current .258 batting average isn't up to par with his 2010 campaign, Rodriguez is hitting .324 over his last 10 games and has a .352 on base percentage for the year.\r\n

\r\n\"I try to keep my swing level all the time,\" Rodriguez said. \"If I can keep that steady over the season, I know I'll have some good results. Just hit for line drives and the rest will come. I feel stronger and I've gotten more confident every day.\"\r\n

\r\nBrooklyn manager Rich Donnelly has noticed the progress Rodriguez has made at the plate during his first season in Brooklyn. \r\n

\r\n\"He's gotten better and better since he first got here,\" Donnelly said of Rodriguez. \"He's got some pop in his bat but the key for him has been making solid contact. He's a natural athlete and definitely has the tools, he's just got to stay consistent.\" \r\n

\r\nA big factor in Rodriguez's success this year stems from the amount of playing time he's gotten. He leads the Cyclones this season in games played and at-bats. In turn, that has landed Rodriguez in the top three on the team in hits, doubles, triples, homeruns and RBIs. \r\n

\r\n\"It helps a lot to be out there every day,\" he said. \"I've gotten more comfortable as a hitter and like where my game is at right now. But like I said, for me, it's all about keeping the swing level at the plate.\"\r\n

\r\nDefensively, Rodriguez has come a long way since first entering the organization. \"I focus on my defense just as much as anything,\" he said. \"It's my job to make every play that comes my way. You have to always stay focused and determined during drills before the game and then carry that same intensity into the game.\"\r\n

\r\nRodriguez has seen his game grow by leaps and bounds each year he's been a part of the Mets organization and his willingness to improve his game foreshadows that that trend will only continue. \r\n

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