Scouting Prospect #34: Gerardo Rodriguez

The Yankees signed Gerardo Rodriguez as a first baseman back in 2004 and immediately began to try him at catcher. He played there for two seasons but his bat has quickly become so special that the Yankees decided to move him back to first base this offseason and he is now one of the best projected power hitters in the organization. Here's a scouting report on 'Gerry' Rodriguez.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Gerardo Rodriguez
Position: First Base
DOB: October 25, 1987
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"In my opinion, I'm the best power hitter," Rodriguez confidently told us. "I'm very confident with my bat. I'm not going up to the plate looking for home runs, I'm going up there looking to make contact and wherever I can hit the ball, great."

It is not only Gerry's natural power that has scouts and coaches sitting up and taking notice, it is his whole approach at the plate. Not many teenage power prodigies have his free and easy disposition in the batter's box and he simply refuses to over-swing.

"I think he's got a chance to hit and he's exceptionally strong," GCL Yankees manager Matt Martin said of Rodriguez. "He's got power to all fields and he'll go deep to right field. He's got a nice short swing when he doesn't try to do too much."

"When you try to do too much," Martin continued, "you get out of your swing. So if he stays within himself he's got a good chance to be a real good hitter. Him playing first base is a way to get him some at-bats. His number one tool is going to be his bat."

Originally signed as a first baseman, the Yankees moved him to catcher to take advantage of his power. But after hitting 24 doubles and 11 home runs in his first 341 at-bats, and slugging .463 before his 19th birthday, the Yankees realized his offensive potential is just too special to have him worrying about the defensive demands of catching.

"Gerry's a guy I always believed was going to be a first baseman," Yankees Latin American Coordinator Carlos Rios said. "That's what we signed him as. It's okay that we tried him at catcher. As he feels more comfortable and relaxed at first base, it will give him more time to think about hitting and not have to worry so much about catching."

"He's got tremendous power and with any young power hitter, he's going to have some holes. We're going to have to give him the at-bats. We believe he's going to smart enough to figure it out. He's shown that a little bit at a time, but that's good. He's doing it. He'll be challenged next year and I think he'll do better."

Rodriguez actually played nine games this past season in the Gulf Coast League at first base and made the permanent switch there full-time during the Instructional League in Tampa.

Making sure he got as much experience as possible at new his new position before the new season, the Yankees also sent 'G-Rod' to the Dominican Instructional League and he has looked pretty impressive in just a short time.

"I feel very good over at first base," Rodriguez told us through the help of Livio Oleaga translating. "I think I'm going to be a much better first baseman than a catcher and I have more opportunities at first base than I do catching."

But as good as he has looked defensively at first base, everybody knows that it is his bat that is going to carry him a long way, including Rodriguez himself.

"Hitting," he listed as the thing he wants to work on the most, "and batting for power. I want to do even better next year that I did this past season. I want to continue to hit doubles like I did this past season and the power numbers should be there."

He hit .285 with 13 doubles and three home runs in the Gulf Coast League this past season and drew praise from many other opposing clubs and scouts. However, somehow he inexplicably didn't make another prospect publication's Top 20 Prospects list for his league this past season despite being one of the most impressive prospects.

"I wasn't too upset," said the easy going Rodriguez. "I just felt that I deserved it over some of the guys on their rankings."

"He had a great year," said Yankees Dominican Hitting Coordinator Freddy Tiburcio. "I guess somebody missed him. There's nothing else to say, somebody just missed him."

With a short compact swing, Rodriguez has drawn comparisons to Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez because of his free and easy style, natural power, and even his stance. But Gerry compares himself to somebody else.

"David Ortiz," he listed as the player in the big leagues his style of his game compares to, "because he has power, he takes good pitches all the time, and he has good balance."

The Ortiz comparison isn't a bad one in another regard. Like Ortiz, Gerardo Rodriguez has the kind of smile that is contagious and it is often times difficult not to see him smiling on the baseball field.

"That's the way I am, I'm a happy man," Rodriguez, not surprisingly, said with a smile.

Possessing the makeup and presence of a big league slugger already, many inside the Yankee organization are predicting great things for their young prodigy.

"Gerardo Rodriguez," Tiburcio named as the most impressive hitter he saw during the Dominican Instructs, "that guy impresses everybody! When you see that kid, even in the cage, even swinging in the soft toss drills, you can feel the power in that swing. He's going to be the next first baseman for the Yankees, for a long time."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2006

Gulf Coast

.285

137

13

3

28

18

2

11

34

.342

.445

2006

DSL

.284

204

11

8

39

29

2

12

63

.335

.475



Batting and Power. Rodriguez's meal ticket is his batting and power. He has plus power potential with power to all fields. And while his .284 career average thus far has been impressive, he's a much better hitter than his average indicates. He has an extremely short load in his swing with plus bat speed, giving him the opportunity to wait on very good breaking pitches and catch up to fastballs. He is also mature beyond his years, able to take the outside pitches to the opposite field. His relaxed approach and selectivity at the plate points to him being able to draw a ton of walks and posting some high on-base percentages down the road.

Base Running and Speed. For being such a slugger, Rodriguez isn't your normal plodding corner infielder. While he's not about to win many foot races, he is surprisingly athletic with quick feet. He will probably only steal a handful of bases each year but he also won't hurt a team on the base paths.

Defense. Rodriguez is quite nimble around the first base bag, boasting surprising range. His defensive progression is still in its infancy stage however and it remains to be seen how he handles the nuances of turning double plays and positioning himself in the field. The early returns have been favorable but he'll need to prove it more on the field in coming years.

Projection. Rodriguez has special offensive talent and the good makeup to go along with it. He projects to be a middle-of-the-order type of hitter in a big league lineup someday and he has the potential to be a plus home run hitter and a .300 hitter to boot. The question will be, will he do it as a first baseman or a designated hitter? He received a rather low ranking this year because of his position switch, but don't let that fool you. Offensively, he should be a top prospect as soon as 2007.

ETA. 2010. Rodriguez appears ticketed to be Charleston's starting first baseman in 2007. From there, offensively, he'll probably only need two more full minor league seasons before he is big league ready. We're going to put his ETA at 2010 but how his defensive game progresses might effect his eventual arrival.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Gerardo Rodriguez
\r\nPosition: First Base
\r\nDOB: October 25, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 195
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"In my opinion, I'm the best power hitter,\" Rodriguez confidently told us. \"I'm very confident with my bat. I'm not going up to the plate looking for home runs, I'm going up there looking to make contact and wherever I can hit the ball, great.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt is not only Gerry's natural power that has scouts and coaches sitting up and taking notice, it is his whole approach at the plate. Not many teenage power prodigies have his free and easy disposition in the batter's box and he simply refuses to over-swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he's got a chance to hit and he's exceptionally strong,\" GCL Yankees manager Matt Martin said of Rodriguez. \"He's got power to all fields and he'll go deep to right field. He's got a nice short swing when he doesn't try to do too much.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"When you try to do too much,\" Martin continued, \"you get out of your swing. So if he stays within himself he's got a good chance to be a real good hitter. Him playing first base is a way to get him some at-bats. His number one tool is going to be his bat.\"
\r\n
\r\nOriginally signed as a first baseman, the Yankees moved him to catcher to take advantage of his power. But after hitting 24 doubles and 11 home runs in his first 341 at-bats, and slugging .463 before his 19th birthday, the Yankees realized his offensive potential is just too special to have him worrying about the defensive demands of catching.
\r\n
\r\n\"Gerry's a guy I always believed was going to be a first baseman,\" Yankees Latin American Coordinator Carlos Rios said. \"That's what we signed him as. It's okay that we tried him at catcher. As he feels more comfortable and relaxed at first base, it will give him more time to think about hitting and not have to worry so much about catching.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got tremendous power and with any young power hitter, he's going to have some holes. We're going to have to give him the at-bats. We believe he's going to smart enough to figure it out. He's shown that a little bit at a time, but that's good. He's doing it. He'll be challenged next year and I think he'll do better.\"
\r\n
\r\nRodriguez actually played nine games this past season in the Gulf Coast League at first base and made the permanent switch there full-time during the Instructional League in Tampa.
\r\n
\r\nMaking sure he got as much experience as possible at new his new position before the new season, the Yankees also sent 'G-Rod' to the Dominican Instructional League and he has looked pretty impressive in just a short time.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel very good over at first base,\" Rodriguez told us through the help of Livio Oleaga translating. \"I think I'm going to be a much better first baseman than a catcher and I have more opportunities at first base than I do catching.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut as good as he has looked defensively at first base, everybody knows that it is his bat that is going to carry him a long way, including Rodriguez himself.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitting,\" he listed as the thing he wants to work on the most, \"and batting for power. I want to do even better next year that I did this past season. I want to continue to hit doubles like I did this past season and the power numbers should be there.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe hit .285 with 13 doubles and three home runs in the Gulf Coast League this past season and drew praise from many other opposing clubs and scouts. However, somehow he inexplicably didn't make another prospect publication's Top 20 Prospects list for his league this past season despite being one of the most impressive prospects.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wasn't too upset,\" said the easy going Rodriguez. \"I just felt that I deserved it over some of the guys on their rankings.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He had a great year,\" said Yankees Dominican Hitting Coordinator Freddy Tiburcio. \"I guess somebody missed him. There's nothing else to say, somebody just missed him.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith a short compact swing, Rodriguez has drawn comparisons to Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez because of his free and easy style, natural power, and even his stance. But Gerry compares himself to somebody else.
\r\n
\r\n\"David Ortiz,\" he listed as the player in the big leagues his style of his game compares to, \"because he has power, he takes good pitches all the time, and he has good balance.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Ortiz comparison isn't a bad one in another regard. Like Ortiz, Gerardo Rodriguez has the kind of smile that is contagious and it is often times difficult not to see him smiling on the baseball field.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's the way I am, I'm a happy man,\" Rodriguez, not surprisingly, said with a smile.
\r\n
\r\nPossessing the makeup and presence of a big league slugger already, many inside the Yankee organization are predicting great things for their young prodigy.
\r\n
\r\n\"Gerardo Rodriguez,\" Tiburcio named as the most impressive hitter he saw during the Dominican Instructs, \"that guy impresses everybody! When you see that kid, even in the cage, even swinging in the soft toss drills, you can feel the power in that swing. He's going to be the next first baseman for the Yankees, for a long time.\"
\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
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n 2B

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

\r\n R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast

\r\n

\r\n .285

\r\n

\r\n 137

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 34

\r\n

\r\n .342

\r\n

\r\n .445

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n DSL

\r\n

\r\n .284

\r\n

\r\n 204

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 63

\r\n

\r\n .335

\r\n

\r\n .475

\r\n
\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Rodriguez's meal ticket is his batting and power. He has plus power potential with power to all fields. And while his .284 career average thus far has been impressive, he's a much better hitter than his average indicates. He has an extremely short load in his swing with plus bat speed, giving him the opportunity to wait on very good breaking pitches and catch up to fastballs. He is also mature beyond his years, able to take the outside pitches to the opposite field. His relaxed approach and selectivity at the plate points to him being able to draw a ton of walks and posting some high on-base percentages down the road.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. For being such a slugger, Rodriguez isn't your normal plodding corner infielder. While he's not about to win many foot races, he is surprisingly athletic with quick feet. He will probably only steal a handful of bases each year but he also won't hurt a team on the base paths.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Rodriguez is quite nimble around the first base bag, boasting surprising range. His defensive progression is still in its infancy stage however and it remains to be seen how he handles the nuances of turning double plays and positioning himself in the field. The early returns have been favorable but he'll need to prove it more on the field in coming years.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Rodriguez has special offensive talent and the good makeup to go along with it. He projects to be a middle-of-the-order type of hitter in a big league lineup someday and he has the potential to be a plus home run hitter and a .300 hitter to boot. The question will be, will he do it as a first baseman or a designated hitter? He received a rather low ranking this year because of his position switch, but don't let that fool you. Offensively, he should be a top prospect as soon as 2007.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2010. Rodriguez appears ticketed to be Charleston's starting first baseman in 2007. From there, offensively, he'll probably only need two more full minor league seasons before he is big league ready. We're going to put his ETA at 2010 but how his defensive game progresses might effect his eventual arrival.
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