Prospect Profile: Wilkin Rodriguez

Wilkin Rodriguez was a relative unknown coming into the 2005 season, impressing in the Dominican League, but had yet to show his talent in the United States. That changed when Wilkin made the jump over to Florida, and his first season certainly turned some heads.

Wilkin Rodriguez
Position: Outfielder Height: 5-10 Weight: 150
Born: 9/5/1982 Bats: Left Throws: Left

The Tigers signed Wilkin out of the Dominican Republic as a young player, hoping he could develop into a top notch centerfielder. After several solid seasons with the Dominican Summer League Tigers, Rodriguez finally came state-side in 2005, debuting in the Gulf Coast League. Despite struggling during June, Rodriguez adjusted well to pro ball by posting a .329/.387/.416 over the seasons final 40 games. Rodriguez passed his first professional test this past season, and will look to continue his climb up the ladder in 2006.

Scouting Report
The Tigers signed Wilkin during a time when the organization valued very highly the idea of raw speed and athleticism. Up until this season, it appeared Rodriguez was going to be the next in a long line of failed, toolsy centerfielders. Despite his extremely slight frame, Rodriguez has begun to develop some gap power that adequately compliments his package of speed and intellect on the bases. Wilkin understand the strike zone well, and rarely chases pitches out of the zone. The combination of on-base ability and speed make Rodriguez an ideal top of the order hitter. Defensively, Rodriguez is still very raw, despite his numerous seasons in the DSL. He takes adventurous routes to fly balls, and is often forced to use his speed to compensate for his lack of instinct in the field. Until he can begin to track batted balls in a more acceptable fashion, Rodriguez will likely be destined for left field, where his average arm would still be adequate. Unfortunately, a move to left field would make Wilkin's offensive arsenal extremely underwhelming, lessening his prospect status even more.














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Health Record
Rodriguez missed nearly all of the 2004 season with a variety of injuries. He appeared to return to good health in 2005, but will need to prove that there are no lingering concerns entering the 2006 season.

The Future
Rodriguez has demonstrated through his DSL and GCL experience that he can hit the ball with great regularity, but at age 23, he will need to really start moving through the system quickly to have much of a chance. With the introduction of Cameron Maybin to the organization in 2006, Rodriguez's path will officially be blocked. Wilkin will likely get his next chance with Oneonta, and will have to prove his hitting prowess in the GCL was not a fluke against more advanced, collegiate pitching. If Rodriguez can catch a few (okay a lot) breaks, he has a chance to become a Michael Tucker type player who can provide a team with a very good 4th outfielder.

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