The 11th overall pick in 2018, Rodriguez’ first career start at the full-season level was a memorable one. Pitching on the road in Lexington, he struck out 10 across five scoreless frames, scattering two hits and walking two.
Already very physical at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Rodriguez is strong enough to generate velocity without significant effort, allowing him to focus on control and his mechanics. Improvements in those departments have been visible since he turned pro, and he’s athletic enough to continue projecting up on the fastball command. His fastball touches 97 and sits comfortably in the 93-to-95 mph range, exploding late on hitters for swinging strikes up in the zone. Both his slider and curve flash above-average upside, the curve looking especially sharp at times in this look. Another enthusing development was the clear progression of a low-80s changeup, a pitch that was fairly crude in high school but played like an effective weapon to lefties at best.
Rodriguez surprised some by going so early in the first round last year, but he has done nothing but back it up since signing. It’s early, but there’s a lot to be excited about from his first 10 professional outings. Especially considering the rate his changeup and pitchability have progressed, the best-case ceiling looks like a #2/#3 type starter with power stuff.