Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 13

High profile prospect Yorman Rodriguez is a veteran of top Cincinnati prospects lists since he signed a lucrative foreign free agent contract as a sixteen year-old in 2009. He's had some challenges along the way, but now he's on the 40-man roster and in a position to earn a promotion to AAA.

Yorman Rodriguez is no stranger to top Cincinnati prospects lists. Actually he's risen and fallen on them like a roller coaster since he debuted professionally as a sixteen year-old in 2009. He's on the rise again after a more successful season at Bakersfield last year that earned him a midseason promotion to AA. He didn't look overwhelmed at the higher level either while hitting .267 AVG/.329 OB.

Perhaps the Reds might eventually reap some benefits for signing the Venezuelan lottery ticket with a $2.5 million bonus five years ago. He was heralded as a potential five-tool player, but he has yet to unveil the power tool, although he did slug .470 with nine homers last year before leaving the hitter-friendly venues of the California League. However, he's only 21 years old and there's still some upside as he enters his sixth season in the Cincinnati organization.

His glove was a little more reliable last year too, committing only eleven errors in 122 games. He even got moved back to centerfield while at Bakersfield but he was more impressive in right at Pensacola. Unexpectedly his putouts/game did not drop after he moved to the corner and he got to show off his arm by gunning down eight runners in 66 games.

Rodriguez now stands 6'3/195# and bats/throws right-handed. It's a bit difficult to predict where he'll start out this year. He's on the 40-man roster, but that move was more of a protection from loss in the Rule 5 draft. He's still young and didn't exactly overwhelm the Southern League so a return to AA might be in order. On the other hand, Cincinnati has not been bashful about promoting him whenever he gives a hint at readiness. Should he begin this season with the Blue Wahoos look for a fast start and another midseason promotion.

Looking back on his career, Rodriguez has undergone a lot of maturation both physically and emotionally as he leaves his teen years behind. Throughout the growing pains he keeps advancing up the system, though not always on schedule he's still on the brink of reaching AAA at a young age. At the time of his signing he was considered to have raw skills and a ton of potential. Now after all the challenges, advancement, and maturation it's a bit difficult to gauge exactly where he stands as a baseball player. He could use some improvement on contact, but his plate discipline is developing and he had a nice .065' gap between his average and on-base percentage in 2013.

Rodriguez has been in the organization long enough by now that if he's still considered "raw" it's as much a problem of the development system as the player. This season should give a good indication just how polished he's become and the young prospect has now worked his way to a schedule with an ETA at the MLB level in 2015.


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