Scouting Mets Prospect #36: Armando Rodriguez

One pitcher who flew under the radar this season is right-hander Armando Rodriguez. Short-season, full-season, it made no difference for Rodriguez who had a terrific season and is quietly the best kept secret in the Mets system. An older signing out of the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez is coming on strong and bigger things are expected of him in the future.

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Vital Statistics
Name: Armando Rodriguez
DOB: January 28, 1988
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (2006)

Typically when the Mets, like other organization, pursue free agents in the Dominican Republic, it is done to attract and sign talent that is 16-17 years old. The Mets broke stride during their free agent period of 2006 when they inked right-hander Armando Rodriguez at 18 years old, eventually bringing the right-hander stateside for the first time as a 20-year-old when he debuted with Kingsport in 2009.

He spent his first two summers in the Dominican Summer League, highlighted by a 4-4 record, 2.63 ERA, 81 strikeouts and .188 opponent's batting average in 72 innings. That set him up a very strong 2009 season that saw him go 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in nine starts with Kingsport followed up by a 2-1 mark and 2.16 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings (three starts) with Savannah to conclude the season. The full body of work to this point is enough to excite Rick Waits, the organization's pitching coordinator.

"A lot of time we'll sign kids out of the Dominican that are 16,17 years old. We signed him at 18 so he spent the better part of two summers in the Dominican program. We saw a kid that had a big body and a big arm but didn't really know how to pitch yet. The secondary pitches were yet to be developed," Waits explained.

"The work that he's done, he now has two secondary pitches that are very good. He got the opportunity to show this year just how much his stuff has come along," he continued.

His production spoke for itself as he consistently worked over Appalachian League competition with velocity and rapidly improving secondary pitches. A dedicated worker and one who was meticulous in his approach and the feel for his pitches, Rodriguez kept his strikeout numbers and contact numbers consistent through his time in Kingsport. That advancement plus an exclamation point in Savannah impressed the organization.

"He had a great showing Kingsport and then went to Savannah and he pitched a few really good games there which really surprised us a little bit that he'd do that well," Waits explained. "He's gone from a thrower to a pitcher in a very short period of time. He's right on track to really open up some eyes. I've got some really high expectations of him. "

His year-end results in the South Atlantic League were not only the benefit of a hot hand. Power, velocity and rapid growth should make for a smooth transition as he moves to full-season ball next season. His skills have quietly emerged, but his name should become more visible as the innings pile up. In fact, he is likely undervalued by this publication according to Waits.

" He put himself on the radar due to his hard work, his conditioning—he's an incredibly strong kid. He's got the back and shoulders of a linebacker—and his desire to get better," said Waits. "To me, he can be put right in there with the top prospects in the organization. There are a lot of things that put him there. "

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

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: His fastball is the first thing that immediately impresses when watching Rodriguez. He sat 92-94 during his stay with Kingsport, but reports from his starts in Savannah had him showing even a bit more velocity by touching 95 MPH with good frequency. Early with the K-Mets, he threw his fastball the overwhelming majority of the time, using its hard, natural running action down in the zone. Into August and with Savannah, he decreased that percentage a bit but better timed his fastball to set up other pitches or rear back and throw it by a hitter if needed. It is the front line pitch expected of a talented, young pitcher.

Other Pitches: Rodriguez primarily backs up his fastball with a low to mid-80s slider that is quickly improving thanks to sharper break and better command down in the zone. There is still consistency to be attained, but for now is effective enough to avoid a lot of contact. He can keep it down in the zone but will develop more feel and location in the future. He tosses a low to mid-80 changeup that is the final piece. He shows flashes of its potential, but like his slider it is a matter of repetition and practice.

Pitching: To this point, Rodriguez does not mince his pitches. He attacks with the fastball early in the count to set up his secondary stuff, but he still very much reliant on his fastball to overpower hitters when needed. He has shown good command down in the zone, but one thing to keep an eye on is his fly ball ratio. He surrendered only two home runs in 62 innings but gave up a higher percentage of fly ball outs. He needs to remain very aggressive down in the zone going forward. It makes finding the feel and location of his secondary pitches that important and could be one of the determining factors in his success. It is pitchability and Rodriguez's ability to become trusting and reliant on his secondary pitches that will be most significant.

Projection: It is very early in career, so to make one definitive prediction is not applicable to this point. He has the big fastball and a potential plus slider which would project well as a reliever. But his size and strength—he is taller and wider than Jenrry Mejia—and live arm allows the organization to work him as a starter until his performance proves otherwise. There is a lot of potential for Rodriguez and if he can keep trending upwards, the Mets are confident they will have yet another high-ceiling, hard-throwing starter.

ETA: 2013. It is a down the middle estimation for Rodriguez. He could have a quicker rise if the talent comes on even quicker than expected. He ended the year in Savannah and figures to return there to start the 2010. The door has to be left open a crack to a potential aggressive move to St. Lucie, but best estimation is that he returns to the Sand Gnats with three more years to work on his craft.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nTo discuss all of the scouting reports, head to the Subscribers Forum
\r\n
\r\n
\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Armando Rodriguez
\r\nDOB: January 28, 1988
\r\nHeight: 6'2\"
\r\nWeight: 195
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nStatus: Free Agent Signing (2006)
\r\n
\r\nTypically when the Mets, like other organization, pursue free agents in the Dominican Republic, it is done to attract and sign talent that is 16-17 years old. The Mets broke stride during their free agent period of 2006 when they inked right-hander Armando Rodriguez at 18 years old, eventually bringing the right-hander stateside for the first time as a 20-year-old when he debuted with Kingsport in 2009.
\r\n
\r\nHe spent his first two summers in the Dominican Summer League, highlighted by a 4-4 record, 2.63 ERA, 81 strikeouts and .188 opponent's batting average in 72 innings. That set him up a very strong 2009 season that saw him go 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in nine starts with Kingsport followed up by a 2-1 mark and 2.16 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings (three starts) with Savannah to conclude the season. The full body of work to this point is enough to excite Rick Waits, the organization's pitching coordinator.
\r\n
\r\n\"A lot of time we'll sign kids out of the Dominican that are 16,17 years old. We signed him at 18 so he spent the better part of two summers in the Dominican program. We saw a kid that had a big body and a big arm but didn't really know how to pitch yet. The secondary pitches were yet to be developed,\" Waits explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"The work that he's done, he now has two secondary pitches that are very good. He got the opportunity to show this year just how much his stuff has come along,\" he continued.
\r\n
\r\nHis production spoke for itself as he consistently worked over Appalachian League competition with velocity and rapidly improving secondary pitches. A dedicated worker and one who was meticulous in his approach and the feel for his pitches, Rodriguez kept his strikeout numbers and contact numbers consistent through his time in Kingsport. That advancement plus an exclamation point in Savannah impressed the organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"He had a great showing Kingsport and then went to Savannah and he pitched a few really good games there which really surprised us a little bit that he'd do that well,\" Waits explained. \"He's gone from a thrower to a pitcher in a very short period of time. He's right on track to really open up some eyes. I've got some really high expectations of him. \"
\r\n
\r\nHis year-end results in the South Atlantic League were not only the benefit of a hot hand. Power, velocity and rapid growth should make for a smooth transition as he moves to full-season ball next season. His skills have quietly emerged, but his name should become more visible as the innings pile up. In fact, he is likely undervalued by this publication according to Waits.
\r\n
\r\n\" He put himself on the radar due to his hard work, his conditioning—he's an incredibly strong kid. He's got the back and shoulders of a linebacker—and his desire to get better,\" said Waits. \"To me, he can be put right in there with the top prospects in the organization. There are a lot of things that put him there. \"
\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 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: His fastball is the first thing that immediately impresses when watching Rodriguez. He sat 92-94 during his stay with Kingsport, but reports from his starts in Savannah had him showing even a bit more velocity by touching 95 MPH with good frequency. Early with the K-Mets, he threw his fastball the overwhelming majority of the time, using its hard, natural running action down in the zone. Into August and with Savannah, he decreased that percentage a bit but better timed his fastball to set up other pitches or rear back and throw it by a hitter if needed. It is the front line pitch expected of a talented, young pitcher.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches: Rodriguez primarily backs up his fastball with a low to mid-80s slider that is quickly improving thanks to sharper break and better command down in the zone. There is still consistency to be attained, but for now is effective enough to avoid a lot of contact. He can keep it down in the zone but will develop more feel and location in the future. He tosses a low to mid-80 changeup that is the final piece. He shows flashes of its potential, but like his slider it is a matter of repetition and practice.
\r\n
\r\nPitching: To this point, Rodriguez does not mince his pitches. He attacks with the fastball early in the count to set up his secondary stuff, but he still very much reliant on his fastball to overpower hitters when needed. He has shown good command down in the zone, but one thing to keep an eye on is his fly ball ratio. He surrendered only two home runs in 62 innings but gave up a higher percentage of fly ball outs. He needs to remain very aggressive down in the zone going forward. It makes finding the feel and location of his secondary pitches that important and could be one of the determining factors in his success. It is pitchability and Rodriguez's ability to become trusting and reliant on his secondary pitches that will be most significant.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: It is very early in career, so to make one definitive prediction is not applicable to this point. He has the big fastball and a potential plus slider which would project well as a reliever. But his size and strength—he is taller and wider than Jenrry Mejia—and live arm allows the organization to work him as a starter until his performance proves otherwise. There is a lot of potential for Rodriguez and if he can keep trending upwards, the Mets are confident they will have yet another high-ceiling, hard-throwing starter.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2013. It is a down the middle estimation for Rodriguez. He could have a quicker rise if the talent comes on even quicker than expected. He ended the year in Savannah and figures to return there to start the 2010. The door has to be left open a crack to a potential aggressive move to St. Lucie, but best estimation is that he returns to the Sand Gnats with three more years to work on his craft.
\r\n
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