The Orioles said they didn’t want to move one their big three pitching trio of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Hunter Harvey, and in the end they didn’t, but the cost for Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller was still quite high. In exchange for the free-agent-to-be lefty, his 2.34 ERA, and his Ryan-esque 14.7 SO/9, Baltimore has sent top left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston.
Rodriguez, 21, had a breakout season between Advanced and Double-A last year, pitching to a 3.41 ERA and striking out 7.8 batters per nine across 145 innings pitched. Baseball America subsequently listed him as the 65th best prospect and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo pegged him at #68. ESPN.com’s Keith Law was even higher on him, ranking him 43rd overall.
But 2014 has not been as kind to the young Venezuelan. He’s been hit hard with Double-A Bowie, going 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA across 16 starts. Consequently, Mayo left him off his recently updated top 100 list, but he still ranked as Baltimore’s third best prospect.
That being said, Rodriguez’s peripherals in 2014 are actually nearly identical to the ones he put up last year. His SO/9 is 7.5, just down from 2013’s 7.8, and his BB/9 is 3.2, barely above last year’s 3.2 mark. His HR/9 has actually improved from 0.6 to 0.5. Certainly, he’s pitched poorly to an extent, but its quite possible that part of his struggles are a result of poor luck.
According to the scouting reports by Mayo and Law, Rodriguez is primarily a fastball-changeup pitcher. He sits primarily 91-94 with the hardball, and his change-up, a plus offering, is generally in the 84-88 mile per hour range with a tight slider that needs work but could be above-average down the road.
The harsh statistics this year are certainly a concern, but Rodriguez still has number two or number three starter upside.