The Rule 5 will be interesting for the Pirates. Take a more proven player who could assist in the bullpen this year? Or take a player that can be hidden all season and not be forced into much action? If the Pirates go with the younger option check this guy out, could he be Mr. Upside?
Aneury Rodriguez was picked up by Tampa Bay from Colorado last March in the Jason Hammels deal. He will turn 22 this year. He was signed by the Rockies when he was 17 years of age. The Rays are rolling the dice that Rodriguez is young enough that no team will pick him up. Wrong. It was very surprising he wasn’t protected on the 40 man, especially considering some of the players who were. But enough worrying about the Rays FO decisions, heh aren’t the Pirates the ones interested in Reid Brignac for God sakes. Why? I digress.
In 2009 Rodriguez was with Montgomery in the AA Southern League, Rodriguez allowed 122 hits in 142 innings with a K-to-walk ratio of 111-to-59.
The Pirates disappeared in Latin America for years. Could this possible rule 5 pick change all that? For a low risk gamble, the Pirates might find out. The Rockies have stockpiled talent from the talent rich sandlots for a number of years. It’s puzzling how the Rays grabbed A-Rod for Hammels, then didn’t protect him, but look at the numbers the kid has. He has stayed healthy. Could he continue to throw strikes for the Pirates this year? We haven’t studied this player and couldn’t dig any video, but something tells us he could stick on the Pirates roster for the season with a solid ST.
The Rocky Mountain News thought strongly of Rodriguez three years ago when they used this quote from then Tri-City pitching coach Doug Linton, “He’s far ahead of the learning curve,” Linton said. “He’s 18 and still growing into his body. He needs to get a little bit stronger, which he will do. You see more velocity coming in this guy. (His curveball) has good bite, but it’s going to get better,” Linton said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. He’s only 18 and the sky’s the limit for this kid.
The Pirates don’t have many strikeout pitchers on the 40 man roster or in the high minors. That could change. In 588 minor-league innings, Rodriguez has struck out nearly a batter per inning with a k-to-walk ratio of 8-to-3.1. The strikeout power of a pitcher is in our opinion a very important aspect of a future MLB pitcher and this article agrees, it’s from The Baseball Prospect and highlighted Rodriguez as an underrated prospect
"Rodriguez started 27 games and threw 156.1 innings for High-A Modesto of the hitter-friendly California League. He had a 3.74 ERA, allowed less than a hit an inning, and struck out 21.4% of the batters he faced."
At this time last year, Baseball Intellect called him the eighth best prospect in the Rockies organization.
"Fastball – sits comfortably between 92 and 94, touching 95 and can throw it for strikes"
So why is he available? It appears a lack of a changeup is the main reason. He has also been hittable and called a fly ball pitcher (66% this year) which didn’t help his stock in the hitter friendly confines of Colorado. Jumping to his third organization in a year isn’t going to help him much, but are these negatives enough to make the Pirates lay off a young talent with a downward plane?