Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Endy Rodriguez has seen his prospect stock skyrocket over the past year, but is he the organization’s best position player prospect?
Endy Rodriguez was acquired in the Joe Musgrove trade by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since being acquired, he’s been one of the best hitters in the minor leagues. Since the outset of the 2021 campaign, Rodriguez ranks 24th among all minor league hitters in wRC+, 12th in wOBA, and 36th in OPS. That makes him a top 30 hitter in the minors. But is he the organization’s best position player prospect?
Rodriguez recently got the promotion to Double-A and has continued to produce at a high level in the small sample size, having a 151 wRC+ in his first four games. Overall, the switch-hitting backstop has hit .300/.392/.544 with a .412 wOBA and 149 wRC+. He currently ranks 25th among all minor league hitters in wRC+, 29th in OPS, and 30th in wOBA (min. 300 plate appearances).
When I look at prospects, the three most important numbers to me are strikeout rate, walk rate, and isolated slugging percentage. In my opinion, the benchmark test is a strikeout rate below 20%, walk rate above 10%, and ISO above .150. To me, these three numbers show three things: he isn’t swinging wildly at the plate and makes consistent contact, has a good eye, and can see the ball well out of the pitcher’s hand, and when he does make contact, he can drive it for extra bases. Rodriguez has an 11.5% walk rate and an isolated slugging percentage of .243. While his K% sits at 20.3%, he has a 17.3% strikeout rate since the outset of May.
He fits the bill best by applying this same logic to the Pittsburgh Pirates other top position player prospects. Nick Gonzalez has struck out more than you’d like to see, and Liover Peguero has had trouble drawing walks. Henry Davis has a good eye at the plate and plus-plus power but hasn’t been productive for nearly as long of a stretch as Rodriguez has. The only prospect who exemplifies these three traits better is Termarr Johnson, who compared Wade Boggs for his plate discipline and Vlad Guerrero Sr. for his plate vision before he was drafted.
While Rodriguez is definitely one of the Pittsburgh Pirates best position player prospects, I do like Johnson and Davis more than Rodriguez. Both have the edge over Rodriguez in the power department while having comparable plate discipline and plate vision. Now with the switch-hitting backstop at Double-A, it’s not going to be very much longer until we see him in the major leagues.