Rodriguez Going In The Right Direction

ST. LUCIE, FL - Aderlin Rodriguez is showing flashes of potential indicative of a promising future. After posting tremendous power numbers in his second year with Savannah, Rodriguez was promoted to high-A St. Lucie in mid July. He is the essence of a power hitter and has continued his power tear in St. Lucie.

Aderlin Rodriguez has been on the rise throughout the minors. In 2009 through only 62 at-bats, he hit .290 with one home run and had a .389 OBP with the GCL Mets. In 2010 Rodriguez hit .300 with 14 home runs and a .350 OBP between Kingsport and Savannah. However, he had a bit of a down year in 2011, hitting .221 with 17 home runs and a .255 OBP.

Rodriguez re-committed himself and it is showing in 2012. Through 318 at-bats with Savannah, A-Rod hit .274 with a .336 OBP and belted an impressive 16 home runs. Not to mention he also had 59 RBIs.

Since his promotion to St. Lucie in mid July, Rodriguez is hitting .235 with a .290 OBP and six home runs. However, these numbers are misleading and do not bring to light to his importance to the ballclub. In the month of August A-Rod has made the adjustments, smashing four home runs and hitting .277 with a .333 OBP.

"The main thing I wanted to do was bring the same approach that I had in Savannah," Rodriguez said. "In the past my biggest problem was that liked to pull the ball a lot, so this year I've been looking for my pitch and trying to use the whole field."

A-Rod's new approach is paying off. His overall numbers for 2012 look like this: .265 AVG, 22 home runs, 35 walks, 92 strikeouts, and 78 RBIs. More importantly, his average seems to climb in clutch situations. With the bases empty he is hitting .208, with runners on he is hitting .254, and with runners in scoring position he is hitting .279.

Rodriguez has the ability to hit the ball out of the park in any given at-bat as demonstrated by the 22 home runs he has hit this year. Given the fact that the Florida State League is known to diminish power numbers, this speaks loudly to his talent. Rodriguez has a large frame with big hands and he seems to be turning the corner.

Rodriguez has become very receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, which has been key to his resurgence. St. Lucie hitting coach Benny Distefano noted A-Rod's improvement.

"I had him in Savannah in 2011 and saw him as a kid with a lot of power and a lot of potential, but was still raw in his swing," Distefano said. "He had his own way of doing things so he developed a little slower in Savannah last year.

"When he got here over a month ago I saw a different kid. I saw a kid who was listening and was a lot more coachable. He was coming to us and asking if we saw anything that he was doing wrong. He was willing to make the adjustments."

Rodriguez admitted that it has been difficult for him to lay off of certain pitches, but he took heed of advice offered by his coaches.

There have been many instances this season where he let pitches go by in favor of working the count or the situation. He tended to be a free swinger in the past but has learned to be more disciplined at the dish and is trying to use the whole field to his advantage.

"My main approach has been looking for my pitch middle-in where I can extend my arms," Rodriguez stated. "If the pitch is away I just recognize it and let it go, or if the pitcher throws something else I try to stay through the ball. If the count is 0-2 or 1-2 I will protect the plate."

Rodriguez shows the ability to adjust to the breaking ball on a consistent basis. If the pitcher makes a mistake with a curveball or splitter, Rodriguez makes him pay dearly. Many of his home runs have come off of the hanging breaking ball and he has demonstrated the ability to drive the ball the other way as well.

"One thing about A-Rod is that you don't question his ability at the plate," Distefano affirmed. "Hitting is his bread and butter and he loves to work on it. He's a guy that can carry a team on his back the way he drives the ball."

St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis also praised the strides that Rodriguez is making.

"His approach and work ethic are becoming better," Ellis said. "He's starting to narrow down the zone and getting better knowledge of the strike zone.

"The important thing is that he's maturing as a young adult on and off the field. That's what I really like about him."

Rodriguez has found a home defensively at third base. However, he possesses a frame and weight not normally seen at his position. He makes accurate throws, has a very strong arm and soft hands, but sometimes gets caught in-between playing the hot corner.

"He has plus arm strength and he has pretty good hands," Ellis stated. "Mechanically he just gets caught in-between sometimes."

Defensive positioning is something that Rodriguez is working on and is already making progress. It is largely the mental aspect and preparation that has led to positive results.

"I'm trying to work on anticipation of the play, such as recognizing what kind of hitter is at the plate," Rodriguez revealed. "I'm doing things like that to make adjustments and minimize mistakes."

Ellis has witnessed these improvements on the field first-hand and offered his thoughts.

"His fielding technique has improved along with his set-up and first-step," Ellis said. "Within the last few weeks he's been getting better reads, getting better angles, and diving for the ball."

Rodriguez has shown that making a mistake defensively will not distract him from excelling offensively. He doesn't dwell on mistakes that can cause him to suffer at the plate. This mental element of his game is important to him.

"I'm separating defense from the offense," Rodriguez said. "If things aren't going well defensively in a game, I don't let it affect me at the plate."

Another key factor to Rodriguez's success comes from his off-the field dedication, and should not be overlooked. This year in Savannah, Rodriguez began a diet and workout program. Through this program he trimmed 12 pounds off of his 6'3" frame.

"Besides my nutrition I have a diet going on and I have a workout program with the strength and conditioning coach to drop a couple of pounds," Rodriguez explained. "I've been eating the same kinds of food, but less amount of it."

The strength and conditioning coach who initiated the program was Savannah Coach Jason Griffin. Griffin sent a transfer sheet to St. Lucie detailing A-Rod's workout and diet information.

"An aspect of my job is to find a way to teach these guys what a pro is," Griffin said. "And how to stay one."

Rodriguez now weighs in around 240 pounds and aims to get that number down some more. There's no doubt that it has impacted his mobility and agility in a positive way.

"It has helped me very much with my overall approach," Rodriguez said with a grin on his face. "It is helping me defensively, and with my hitting and running. It has helped in my life outside of the field too.

"It has really been helping a lot this season and I want to keep it going in order to keep getting better."

Rodriguez is putting the pieces together and Distefano likes what he sees.

"He going in the right direction,"Distefano said. "I can see him progressing into a good big league hitter. He's a middle of the lineup guy that's going to be a good clutch hitter."

Rodriguez is also a loyal teammate and gives all of his effort to win games. He understands that St. Lucie has the opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs. He has a ritual before going out onto the field.

"Before the game I ask God for health and for all the players on the team to get through the game healthy," Rodriguez conveyed. "I do it before every game."

The New York Mets organization has done its best to advocate to Rodriguez his value to the club. Rodriguez is now beginning to understand his potential fit as a Met.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAderlin Rodriguez has been on the rise throughout the minors. In 2009 through only 62 at-bats, he hit .290 with one home run and had a .389 OBP with the GCL Mets. In 2010 Rodriguez hit .300 with 14 home runs and a .350 OBP between Kingsport and Savannah. However, he had a bit of a down year in 2011, hitting .221 with 17 home runs and a .255 OBP.
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez re-committed himself and it is showing in 2012. Through 318 at-bats with Savannah, A-Rod hit .274 with a .336 OBP and belted an impressive 16 home runs. Not to mention he also had 59 RBIs.
\r\n
\r\nSince his promotion to St. Lucie in mid July, Rodriguez is hitting .235 with a .290 OBP and six home runs. However, these numbers are misleading and do not bring to light to his importance to the ballclub. In the month of August A-Rod has made the adjustments, smashing four home runs and hitting .277 with a .333 OBP.
\r\n
\r\n\"The main thing I wanted to do was bring the same approach that I had in Savannah,\" Rodriguez said. \"In the past my biggest problem was that liked to pull the ball a lot, so this year I've been looking for my pitch and trying to use the whole field.\"
\r\n
\r\nA-Rod's new approach is paying off. His overall numbers for 2012 look like this: .265 AVG, 22 home runs, 35 walks, 92 strikeouts, and 78 RBIs. More importantly, his average seems to climb in clutch situations. With the bases empty he is hitting .208, with runners on he is hitting .254, and with runners in scoring position he is hitting .279.
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez has the ability to hit the ball out of the park in any given at-bat as demonstrated by the 22 home runs he has hit this year. Given the fact that the Florida State League is known to diminish power numbers, this speaks loudly to his talent. Rodriguez has a large frame with big hands and he seems to be turning the corner.
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez has become very receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, which has been key to his resurgence. St. Lucie hitting coach Benny Distefano noted A-Rod's improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had him in Savannah in 2011 and saw him as a kid with a lot of power and a lot of potential, but was still raw in his swing,\" Distefano said. \"He had his own way of doing things so he developed a little slower in Savannah last year.
\r\n
\r\n\"When he got here over a month ago I saw a different kid. I saw a kid who was listening and was a lot more coachable. He was coming to us and asking if we saw anything that he was doing wrong. He was willing to make the adjustments.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez admitted that it has been difficult for him to lay off of certain pitches, but he took heed of advice offered by his coaches.
\r\n
\r\nThere have been many instances this season where he let pitches go by in favor of working the count or the situation. He tended to be a free swinger in the past but has learned to be more disciplined at the dish and is trying to use the whole field to his advantage.
\r\n
\r\n\"My main approach has been looking for my pitch middle-in where I can extend my arms,\" Rodriguez stated. \"If the pitch is away I just recognize it and let it go, or if the pitcher throws something else I try to stay through the ball. If the count is 0-2 or 1-2 I will protect the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez shows the ability to adjust to the breaking ball on a consistent basis. If the pitcher makes a mistake with a curveball or splitter, Rodriguez makes him pay dearly. Many of his home runs have come off of the hanging breaking ball and he has demonstrated the ability to drive the ball the other way as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"One thing about A-Rod is that you don't question his ability at the plate,\" Distefano affirmed. \"Hitting is his bread and butter and he loves to work on it. He's a guy that can carry a team on his back the way he drives the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nSt. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis also praised the strides that Rodriguez is making.
\r\n
\r\n\"His approach and work ethic are becoming better,\" Ellis said. \"He's starting to narrow down the zone and getting better knowledge of the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"The important thing is that he's maturing as a young adult on and off the field. That's what I really like about him.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez has found a home defensively at third base. However, he possesses a frame and weight not normally seen at his position. He makes accurate throws, has a very strong arm and soft hands, but sometimes gets caught in-between playing the hot corner.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has plus arm strength and he has pretty good hands,\" Ellis stated. \"Mechanically he just gets caught in-between sometimes.\"
\r\n
\r\nDefensive positioning is something that Rodriguez is working on and is already making progress. It is largely the mental aspect and preparation that has led to positive results.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm trying to work on anticipation of the play, such as recognizing what kind of hitter is at the plate,\" Rodriguez revealed. \"I'm doing things like that to make adjustments and minimize mistakes.\"
\r\n
\r\nEllis has witnessed these improvements on the field first-hand and offered his thoughts.
\r\n
\r\n\"His fielding technique has improved along with his set-up and first-step,\" Ellis said. \"Within the last few weeks he's been getting better reads, getting better angles, and diving for the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez has shown that making a mistake defensively will not distract him from excelling offensively. He doesn't dwell on mistakes that can cause him to suffer at the plate. This mental element of his game is important to him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm separating defense from the offense,\" Rodriguez said. \"If things aren't going well defensively in a game, I don't let it affect me at the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnother key factor to Rodriguez's success comes from his off-the field dedication, and should not be overlooked. This year in Savannah, Rodriguez began a diet and workout program. Through this program he trimmed 12 pounds off of his 6'3\" frame.
\r\n
\r\n\"Besides my nutrition I have a diet going on and I have a workout program with the strength and conditioning coach to drop a couple of pounds,\" Rodriguez explained. \"I've been eating the same kinds of food, but less amount of it.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe strength and conditioning coach who initiated the program was Savannah Coach Jason Griffin. Griffin sent a transfer sheet to St. Lucie detailing A-Rod's workout and diet information.
\r\n
\r\n\"An aspect of my job is to find a way to teach these guys what a pro is,\" Griffin said. \"And how to stay one.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez now weighs in around 240 pounds and aims to get that number down some more. There's no doubt that it has impacted his mobility and agility in a positive way.
\r\n
\r\n\"It has helped me very much with my overall approach,\" Rodriguez said with a grin on his face. \"It is helping me defensively, and with my hitting and running. It has helped in my life outside of the field too.
\r\n
\r\n\"It has really been helping a lot this season and I want to keep it going in order to keep getting better.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez is putting the pieces together and Distefano likes what he sees.
\r\n
\r\n\"He going in the right direction,\"Distefano said. \"I can see him progressing into a good big league hitter. He's a middle of the lineup guy that's going to be a good clutch hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez is also a loyal teammate and gives all of his effort to win games. He understands that St. Lucie has the opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs. He has a ritual before going out onto the field.
\r\n
\r\n\"Before the game I ask God for health and for all the players on the team to get through the game healthy,\" Rodriguez conveyed. \"I do it before every game.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe New York Mets organization has done its best to advocate to Rodriguez his value to the club. Rodriguez is now beginning to understand his potential fit as a Met.
\r\n
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