Rodriguez projects as back-end starter

July, 31, 2014
7/31/14
5:03
PM ET
Eduardo Rodriguez, whom the Red Sox acquired from Baltimore for reliever Andrew Miller, signed out of Venezuela in January 2010 and moved quickly, for an international signing, through the Orioles system, reaching Double-A Bowie in 2013 as a 21-year-old. He was a consensus top-100 prospect entering 2014, being ranked in the 60s on preseason lists by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com.

[+] EnlargeEduardo Rodriguez
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarEduardo Rodriguez, listed as the Orioles' No. 3 prospect, has had some struggles in his second year at Double A.
Repeating Double-A this year, Rodriguez has had his troubles, putting up a 4.79 ERA in 82 2/3 innings with 69 strikeouts and 21 walks. He also missed some time in April due to a knee sprain. Still, both Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as the third-best Baltimore prospect in their recent midseason updates.

Listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Rodriguez has a filled-out frame with limited projection remaining in his body. He works from a three-quarters arm slot with a smooth, repeatable delivery. Rodriguez’s fastball typically works in the low-90s, but when he is loose and reaches back, he can touch 94-95 mph. The pitch has shown some life and is flat when elevated. Rodriguez has shown the ability to locate the offering to both sides of the plate, but he has inconsistent command and will need refinement to reach his potential.

Rodriguez complements his fastball with a slider and changeup. Neither profiles as a true plus-potential out-pitch, but both could be average to solid-average offerings, with the slider grading slightly better. Rodriguez throws his slider 82-85 mph with the pitch showing tilt and two-plane movement. His changeup works in the 83-85 mph range, but can be on the firm side. At its best, he throws the pitch with deceptive arm speed and arm-side fade, but it has a tendency to float when up in the zone.

With refined command and improved consistency with his secondary offerings, Rodriguez has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. More likely, however, he will end up as a very solid back-end starter. With this trade and the Jake Peavy trade, the Red Sox have assembled quite an impressive surplus of young arms in the majors and high minors. For left-handers, the Red Sox have Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez and Edwin Escobar, who I’d rank in that order, and for right-handers, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes. Rodriguez will probably slot in anywhere from 7-12 on our coming updated SoxProspects.com rankings.

ESPN's Keith Law gives the trade a big thumbs-up, saying Rodriguez is the best minor-league prospect who was dealt on deadline day. CLICK HERE for Law's take (Insider content).

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