Scouting Report: Grayson Rodriguez
Grayson Rodriguez is a 19-year-old, right-handed pitcher with a prototypical, mature, and durable 6’5″ and 220-pound frame. Last spring, he experienced a meteoric rise up draft boards with improved physique and a strong showing for Central Heights High School in Nacodoches, Texas. Ultimately, the Orioles surprisingly selected Rodriguez eleventh overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. In his debut, he impressed in the Gulf Coast League with just 3 earned runs and a 20-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 19 1/3 innings. At just 19 years old, Rodriguez received an aggressive assignment to full-season Low-A Delmarva in the South Atlantic League this year. In his first three starts, he has been dominant, allowing just 1 earned run in 16 2/3 innings with an incredible 28-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
I was fortunate enough to watch Rodriguez’s most recent start in Greensboro on April 18th. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing 1 earned run (opposite field home run by Rodolfo Castro on low-and-away fastball), 4 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, and 52 strikes in 81 pitches (64.2%).
Grayson Rodriguez sports a distinct, four-pitch repertoire, delivered from a high three-quarters arm slot.
Rodriguez effectively utilizes a fastball with exploding, late life, especially up in the zone. In this outing, his velocity ranged from 90-95 mph, but he mostly sat between 93-94 mph. Rodriguez possesses advanced command of his fastball for a 19-year-old, with the ability to locate to both sides of the plate. In the first clip, he delivered a 95 mph fastball to Lolo Sanchez (swing-and-miss). In the second clip (from the stretch), he caught Mason Martin looking at a well-located 93 mph fastball. Grade: 55 present, 60 future
The go-to breaking ball for Grayson Rodriguez is his power slider/cutter. In this outing, his slider/cutter ranged from 84-88 mph, and mostly sat around 86-87 mph. The pitch has sharp cutter-like action at high velocities, and more horizontal movement when thrown in the mid-80s. Rodriguez employed his slider/cutter against both right- and left-handed hitters to great success. Notably, he elicited a lot of weak contact off the end of the bat, as evidenced in the second clip below. Grade: 55 present, 60 future
The most pleasant surprise from Rodriguez’s performance was the continued development of his change-up. In this outing, his change-up ranged from 77-82 mph, and mostly sat around 80 mph. The pitch has excellent velocity separation from his fastball with deceptive arm speed and elicited numerous swings and misses. Arguably, it is now his second best pitch behind his fastball. Grade: 55 present, 60 future
A distant fourth offering for Grayson Rodriguez is his curveball. In this outing, his curveball ranged from 76-80 mph, and mostly sat around 77-78 mph. Some days certain pitches just do not work, and this may have been one of those days for Rodriguez as his curveball was inconsistent and loopy. However, some evaluators view the pitch as a future plus offering. From my views, it is presently below-average with potential to develop into an average pitch. Grade: 45 present, 50 future
Grayson Rodriguez is one of the biggest early season risers among pitching prospects. His advanced command of a deep, four-pitch arsenal belies his age. Further, his frame and controlled delivery portend durability, stamina, and command. Impressively, Rodriguez has the potential to develop three plus offerings (fastball, slider, and change-up) with a fourth average, change-of-pace offering (curveball). As such, Rodriguez profiles as a potential workhorse 2- or 3-starter with minimal relief risk. Scarily, some further projection remains as he continues to fill out and tighten up his large frame.