Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 Prospects Who Should Start 2022 at Greensboro

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Endy Rodriguez

Part of the Joe Musgrove trade, Endy Rodriguez arrived from the New York Mets. The switch-hitting backstop is still young, being 21-years-old and 2022 being his age-22 season. However ever since being signed by the Mets, he’s dominated at every level of the minor leagues. A-Ball Bradenton has been no different.

Through 363 plate appearances, Rodriguez is batting for a strong .289/.283/.492 line with a .405 wOBA, and 136 wRC+. Rodriguez is showing decent pop with a .203 isolated slugging percentage and 11 home runs. Pretty decent considering he had just 4 home runs in 265 plate appearances being a Mets prospect. He’s also displayed a good eye at the plate, as well as some patience. Rodriguez is walking at a 12.4% rate and striking out 18.2% of the time. This would be the third season in a row Rodriguez has put up a walk rate of at least 12% and strikeout rate below 20%.

Rodriguez is more of a hit-over-power kind of prospect. His hit tool projects at a 60-grade, per FanGraphs. Meanwhile, his game power is only 40-projected and his raw power is just 45-projected. But he does make hard contact consistently, having a 90 MPH exit velo as a teenager in 2019. Rodriguez makes up for his lack of power with a high line drive rate.

Currently, he has a 25.5% line drive rate and a low ground ball rate of 38.1%. Though no one would complain if their catcher hits .280/.380/.400 with only 8-12 home runs a year. However, according to MLB Pipeline, once his body fully matures and he fills out a bit more, there’s a lot more power than we are seeing right now. To put it simply, his power is very projectable.

As a defender, Rodriguez is a plus glove behind the dish. Rodriguez has plus-plus athleticism as a catcher which helps him block balls with agility. His arm needs to strengthen up a bit, but that should occur if he stays behind the plate and improves his craft.

Overall, Rodriguez is a high-ceiling prospect. The only catcher that ranks higher than him in the Pirates’ system is 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis who may see time at a corner infield/outfield position more often than catcher. In my opinion, Rodrigeuz is the Pirates’ best pure catcher. Rodriguez should start the 2022 season at High-A, but it’s not out of the question if he will see any playing time at Double-A, especially if he keeps hitting as he has.