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Scouting Report: Grayson Rodriguez

Background

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%).

Repertoire

Grayson Rodriguez sports a distinct, four-pitch repertoire, delivered from a high three-quarters arm slot.

Fastball

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

Slider/Cutter

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

Change-Up

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

Curveball

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

Overall

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.

Jesse Roche's 2019 Prospect Series

DateArticle
11/5/18Top 600 Dynasty League Players, Fall Preview
11/12/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Catcher Prospects
11/19/182019 Top 30 Fantasy First Base Prospects
11/26/182019 Top 30 Fantasy Second Base Prospects
12/3/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Third Base Prospects
12/10/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 1
12/17/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 2
12/24/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 1
12/31/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 2
1/7/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 1
1/16/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 2
1/21/19Upon Further Review: Notable Grade Changes
1/28/192019 Top 500 Fantasy Prospects
2/11/192019 Top 100 Upside-Only Fantasy Prospects
2/20/192019 First Year Player Draft Rankings
3/11/192019 Impact Prospects
3/18/192019 Breakout Prospects
4/1/19Prospects Breaking Camp
4/3/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, March 2019
4/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, March 2019
4/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, March 2019
4/22/19Scouting Report: Grayson Rodriguez
4/29/19Scouting Reports: Delmarva & Greensboro
5/2/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, April 2019
5/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, April 2019
5/8/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, April 2019
5/10/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, May 2019
5/20/192019 MLB Draft Fantasy Prospects

Please feel free to post comments, questions, or your own observations!

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The Author

Jesse Roche

Jesse Roche

Jesse is an attorney, currently residing in Greensboro. An avid fantasy baseball player, Jesse has experience in a diverse range of leagues, including head-to-head, rotisserie, points, and simulation. Jesse is a four-time website-wide champion at Benchwarmer Baseball and a repeat champion of a dynasty league with John Sickels at Minor League Ball. With a specific interest in baseball prospects, Jesse plans to provide in-depth analysis of up-and-coming stars accessible to all league sizes and types.

2 Comments

  1. Alex
    April 22, 2019 at 11:48 am — Reply

    Are your “present” grades relative to his level or the MLB?

    • April 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm — Reply

      Great question! The “present” grades are relative to the MLB, rounded up. For example, his fastball grades ranged from 45-60, but most sat around 50-55 (93-94 mph with late life). I also fold command into the grade as well. So, in the future, with improved command and more consistent mid-90s velocity, I anticipate his fastball develops into a plus pitch.

      I do believe many “grades” for pitches tend to over-emphasis velocity and are not adjusted for the reality of today’s game. The average fastball velocity last year was 93.2 mph. In that sense, Rodriguez has an average fastball. However, given its movement and his command of the pitch, it plays above-average. In the future, I anticipate his fastball to average closer to 94 mph with even better command. In that situation, it is a potential plus pitch.

      As for his other pitches, I viewed his slider and change-up as 50-55 present value pitches, and his curveball as a 40-45 pitch.

      I was quite impressed with his overall command. He did an excellent job of hitting his spots throughout the game. I would probably grade his present overall command as 40-45, while his control is 45-50. In the future, I see his command and control as average, maybe with his control flirting with above (less than 7% walk rate). Tightening up his breaking ball command will be crucial.

      I would recommend looking at some 2018 reports at 2080 Baseball for a good representation of how I try to evaluate pitchers.

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