I saw Rodriguez late in the GCL season and wrote this spotlight at the time. I caught another look during instructs, and the Orioles first-rounder this year didn’t disappoint across an efficient two innings of work. His fastball sat 93-to-96 mph, showing consistent heavy life and run. The pitch absolutely explodes at times when Rodriguez commands the top of the strike zone. He doesn’t yet command his heater well to spots over the plate, but the ability to throw strikes with the pitch has improved since signing. Rodriguez is young and athletic enough to make alterations to his delivery, and there’s no reason he can’t develop average command in time. Both his slider (80-to-84 mph) and curveball (75-to-77 mph) show at least average upside, the slider potentially a tick above. It’s impressive that a pitcher this young is able to get distinct action on two breaking pitches and land both for strikes. Rodriguez wrinkles a developing circle-change; it’s a distant fourth pitch in his arsenal, though one that shows separation and occasional fade and can keep improving.
Baltimore has bolstered their minor league pitching corps significantly in the last two years, and selecting Rodriguez in the first round this June is a big part of that. His ceiling is as high as any arm in the pipeline save for LHP D.L. Hall, who the O’s took in the first round just the year before Rodriguez. The ingredients are here for a workhorse mid-rotation starter, and he has shown enough present polish since turning pro that I anticipate Rodriguez starts 2019 in Delmarva’s rotation.