With the Red Sox far out of playoff contention last season as the trade deadline approached, they shipped Andrew Miller, who was set to become a free agent, to their division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, for left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. In order for the Red Sox to deal Miller to the Orioles, they would only accept Rodriguez in any deal and on Thursday we got a glimpse of why the Red Sox were so adamant in getting him. Making his Major League debut, Rodriguez went 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7 Rangers batters.
Rodriguez spent all of 2014 in AA where he had a 4.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.10 K/9, and 2.77 BB/9 in 120 IP. Those weren’t the greatest of numbers, but for a 21-year old at AA, he surely held his own. But what’s not seen in those numbers is how he began to really thrive once he did get traded over to the Red Sox organization, as he had a 0.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.40 K/9 and 1.93 BB/9 after the trade.
Before being called up for this start on Thursday, Rodriguez had been pitching at AAA where he had a 2.98 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 48.1 IP while displaying that same nice blend of strikeout potential (8.19 K/9) and excellent control (1.30 BB/9) that he had at AA for the Red Sox last year.
A lot of the pitching prospects that get hyped up seem to be high strikeout guys who have battled control issues such as Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley, and Carlos Rodon, and the problem with those types of pitching prospects is that they do not usually have immediate success in the Majors. Sure they will have an occasional dazzling game, but overall they just often have a mixed bag of results. But then you get someone who comes along like Noah Syndergaard who never has dealt with control issues who can come along and be successful on a much more consistent basis right away in the Majors.
Rodriguez would seem to be more in the vein of Syndergaard than those other young arms thanks to his great control, and he could have a shot at some early success as a Major Leaguer. He’s not as strikeout dominant as Syndergaard, but there is a lot to like about him. Watching his start on Thursday, he was very efficient with his pitch count, throwing a lot of strikes and working in and right around the zone, and he seemed especially tough on the Rangers left-handed bats. He’s still a very young pitcher though, so he’s most likely going to run into some struggles, but out of rookie pitchers I do value the type of control that he can bring.
But what remains to be seen is whether or not he sticks in the Red Sox rotation. His start on Thursday was supposed to be nothing more than a spot start, but the Red Sox have dealt with some big time issues on the pitching front. There’s not really one of their starting pitchers who has had a good season, but the name that comes to mind when talking about Rodriguez potentially replacing someone is Joe Kelly. If the Red Sox are serious about contending this year, then they have to give some long thought to putting Rodriguez in the rotation for good.
For fantasy purposes, Rodriguez would have immediate value if he is inserted into the rotation for a longer look and I definitely would recommend him as someone to pick up.
Let’s check out the rest of Thursday’s action.