Originally signed by the Angels as a projectable 16 year old in 2014, Rogdriguez was shipped to the Tigers in September 2017 as the PTBNL in the Justin Upton (LF, Angels) deal. Since the move, the 20 year old has performed well, working his way up to Class A West Michigan out of the rotation. I saw him make a start for West Michigan May 15.
Rodriguez has added some weight in his lower half, looking closer to 175 pounds versus his listed weight of 160. Although lean, there is minimal projection left. His fastball sat 90-to-91 mph with a slight hop up in the zone, where he will miss a few bats. When he completes the delivery online, he generates plane from his ¾’s arm slot that induces weak contact,but he’s more comfortable letting the FB ride up in the zone for weak air outs and swing and miss opportunities. His command projects to average, and the FB will be an average pitch at maturity. His best secondary is an 11-to-5 curveball that flashed above-average depth but was inconsistent, with a tendency to come around the pitch and flatten it out. It can be exposed as a meaty pitch up in the zone. He will stay on top of it for stretches, and now that his body is finished developing, the consistency should follow, projecting it to be a future above-average offering. He also shows a mid-80s changeup that was rough, lacking feel, movement or definitive separation from his fastball, needing a full-grade of development just to reach a playable 40 grade.
Rodriguez’s lack of a third pitch will eventually land him in the bullpen. In that role, his average fastball will keep him out of high-leverage situations, as the pitch could give MLB hitters chances to do damage. He will drop the CHG in the pen and lean on his CB to get outs via swing-and-miss on the chase and weak contact in the zone. The FB/CB combo with average command fits a middle relief role.