Catcher - Endy Rodriguez
It's time for Endy Rodriguez to make his Major League debut. I am fairly certain that the Pirates will kick off the second half with Endy making his debut in the series right after the break, which is against the San Francisco Giants. Endy had an ice-cold start to the year, however, he's seemed to figure things out over the last few weeks.
Since June 22nd, the switch-hitter is slashing .348/.429/.500. He's walked (14.3%) more often than he's struck out (10.7%) while hitting for a respectable amount of power. His ISO in this time is .157. Overall, Rodriguez has a strong .411 wOBA, .929 OPS, and 134 wRC+ during this recent hot streak.
Rodriguez's numbers on the season aren't too impressive. He has just a .737 OPS, .333 wOBA, and 85 wRC+. However, he still has a phenomenal 11.2% strikeout rate and a 15.3% strikeout rate. This marks the sixth minor league season in which Rodriguez has a walk rate above 10% and a strikeout rate below 20%. Rodriguez was an outstanding hitter in both 2021-2022 and while this low point is not nearly as encouraging as his wRC+ over 160 in 2022, it could simply be Rodriguez working on something or trying a new mechanic out, as we discussed previously.
Rodriguez isn't the best defensive catcher the Pirates have ever had, but he still projects as above average. His arm is good enough for behind the plate, and he's also versatile. Rodriguez spent time in left field, first base, and even some second base (albeit only last season and none in any other year). That should help him keep his bat in the line-up.
Rodriguez could be a key member of the Pirates' line-up for years to come. His debut has been long awaited, and after his slow start to the year, it finally looks like he's figuring things out. Now is the time to get him to the big leagues, and I bet we will see him in the first homestand after the All-Star Break.