Prospect #48: SS Carlos Rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez is a guy who should have been much higher on the list of Phillies prospects. The talent is there, but so is a stubborn attitude and a lack of discipline that has the Phillies concerned about the future of Rodriguez. The Phillies took steps to remedy the situation in 2003, but now, all they can do is sit back and hope that Rodriguez responds.

Some guys are their own worst enemy. Carlos Rodriguez is one of those guys. With an almost overloaded level of talent, Rodriguez almost immediately picked up the nickname of "C-Rod" when he signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent.

 

In his first season of professional ball, the Phillies started Rodriguez in the Gulf Coast League, figuring that he would move up the minor league ranks quickly. In a perfect world, the Phillies would have seen Rodriguez headed to AA Reading in 2004, but that's not going to happen, at least not to start the season. In that first season in the Gulf Coast League, Rodriguez was impressive, hitting .297 and all seemed to be right with the world.

 

The Phillies held an 18 year old Rodriguez back in extended spring training in 2002, getting their first dose of an expanding attitude. Rodriguez felt that he should have been placed with a full season team and the Phillies simply didn't. Still, when the short-season began, the Phillies sent Rodriguez to Batavia and again, he didn't disappoint. In fact, the Phillies started to wonder if they might have made a mistake and should have given C-Rod a full season opportunity. Hitting .290 with a .351 OBP was nice, but Rodriguez also showed his speed by swiping 21 bases. Rodriguez' success may have led to more off the field problems.

 

Coming into 2003, the Phillies kept their slow approach to advancing Rodriguez intact. Again, Rodriguez was looking for a major jump to Clearwater, but the Phillies placed him with Lakewood. Very early into the season, Rodriguez started to struggle badly on the field. Off the field, his attitude was sinking. Before long, there were unspecified discipline problems with Rodriguez and what was at one time a simple attitude concern became a full blown "issue". The Phillies thought about demoting Rodriguez back to Batavia, but farm guru Mike Arbuckle thought more of an intervention was necessary. While some in the organization expected Rodriguez to be suspended, Arbuckle took it one step further.

 

The Phillies did in fact suspend Rodriguez, but it wasn't a simple, short suspension. In fact, they suspended him indefinitely and even told him to "go home". At first, Rodriguez thought they were sending him to play at their Dominican Academy near where Rodriguez grew up and was originally scouted. That was bad enough, but then, they told Rodriguez that he wouldn't be playing there, but he was expected simply to work out and stay in shape for whenever the time came that the Phillies decided to bring him back to the fold.

 

Eventually, Rodriguez was reinstated and came back to drive in the winning run in his first game back. The Phillies hope that 2003 was just a glitch in the system and not a long-term concern that they'll have to deal with for some time to come. Where Rodriguez starts 2004 will be an interesting decision. He hit just .196 with a .270 OBP in 2003, which could well mean another season at Lakewood. It likely won't sit well with Rodriguez, but the Phillies took that approach with both Anderson Machado and Jorge Padilla in 2003 and they are likely to do the same thing with Rodriguez. They've sent the message, so it's just a matter of waiting to see if the talented Rodriguez received the message.

 

Rodriguez has plenty of talent, especially offensively. The Phillies look at him as a potential top of the order major league hitter. Defensively, Rodriguez is still a work in progress. He has the range to get to many balls that most shortstops don't but he also lacks focus at times and will make errors on routine plays. Rodriguez can get back on track and move quickly, but he needs to get out of his own way to do that.

 

Carlos Rodriguez Career Stats

 

Year/Team

HR

RBI

AVG

SB

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

BB

KO

2001 GCLeague

(Rookie)

3

23

.297

6

35

128

22

38

10

1

11

25

2002 Batavia

(Rookie)

0

15

.290

21

61

248

29

72

7

3

19

48

2003 Lakewood

(A)

0

24

.196

18

93

322

27

63

10

3

30

63

Career Stats

3

62

.248

45

189

698

78

173

27

7

60

136

 


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