Minor Monday: Grayson Rodriguez continues his dominance at Aberdeen - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Minor Monday: Grayson Rodriguez continues his dominance at Aberdeen

Grayson Rodriguez
Photo credit: Cliff Welch - Icon Sportswire

Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez has a four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, a slider and a changeup that looks like a screwball.

Opposing hitters are often confused when it comes to his repertoire.

“The way my changeup moves, it spins about three-o’clock, three-fifteen, and sometimes it looks like a left-handed curveball,” Rodriguez told BaltimoreBaseball.com. “I’ve been able to mess around and make it look like a screwball. But we’re going to stick to changeup to get the sharp action of it dropping off the table.”

Rodriguez, the Orioles’ first-round selection (No. 11 overall) in the 2018 draft, is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in four starts this season with Aberdeen, which replaced Frederick as the Orioles’ High-A affiliate.

His velocity is touching in the high 90s and his command has been solid with 31 strikeouts and just four walks.

Although Rodriguez did not have a season in 2020, he worked hard at the Orioles’ alternate training site in Bowie, and he is getting positive results.

Rodriguez entered the season ranked as the No. 2 Orioles prospect, behind catcher Adley Rutschman, according to Baseball America.

“Right now, I am just going to continue to develop my fastball,” Rodriguez said. “We’re getting more command with it. I am actually learning how to pitch with it instead of just throwing it. The velocity has been up significantly. We are going to keep working with that. As far as offspeed pitches go, I am going to continue to develop those. The big difference this year is being able to pitch as opposed to just throw.”

Rodrigez was named the Orioles Jim Palmer Minor League Co-Pitcher of the Year with Mike Baumann in 2019 after finishing the season with Class-A Delmarva, going 10-4 with 2.68 ERA. He also held opponents to a .171 (57-for-333) batting average and struck out 129 batters. The 6-foot-5, 21-year-old right-hander was also named the 2019 South Atlantic League Most Outstanding MLB Prospect.

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Rodriguez was hoping to carry that momentum into 2020, but he is making up for lost time.

“It was kind of a big disappointment,” Rodriguez said. “That was a step that was missed and some time was lost. We are doing our best to make it up now. We’re doing our best to get to Baltimore as quickly as we can.”

Rodriguez is a prized prospect, but he is not putting any added expectations on himself. He still has a couple of stops in the Orioles’ minor-league system before he makes his debut at Camden Yards.

“Some guys have some pressure who have been drafted in the first round. For me, the draft was three years ago and that’s in the past,” Rodriguez said. “That’s out of my mind. I don’t ever think about it. Right now, there’s one goal and that’s to make it to the big leagues.

“Ultimately, I can only control what I can do on the field and that’s throw the ball every five days. As long as I am doing that and taking care of business, that will all take care of itself.”

Rodriguez has taken advantage of the Orioles’ commitment to analytics. He uses the data on a daily basis and watches video to gauge his performance. It has helped him develop a plan for attacking hitters.

“Getting ahead in the count and not walking guys,” Rodriguez said. “Attacking guys. Not worrying about trying to hit corners or anything like that. I just go out and dominate hitters. Really, not pitch around anybody, but just to go after them.”

Rodriguez’s simple goal for 2021 is to become a better pitcher than he was two years ago. So far, he has been dominant and expectations are rising for Rodriguez, who turns 22 on November 16th.

“To do better than I did in 2019,” Rodriguez said. “There’s always room for improvement and you can never stop getting better. I just want to go out and dominate hitters, especially learning how to pitch. Not necessarily trying to place the ball in the strike zone  but going out and finding out what my strengths are, finding out what my weaknesses are and learning how to make those better.”

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    May 24, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Wish him the best of luck, if it’s in the past & out of your mind, don’t refer to it, hope he hooks up with Adley for an awesome battery…go O’s…

    • 900E-33rdSt

      May 24, 2021 at 7:44 am

      Maybe just maybe he was answering a question posed to him when he referenced being drafted in the 1st round and corresponding pressure associated with high draft pick…or nah?

    • CalsPals

      May 24, 2021 at 7:59 am

      Would you have responded that way to anyone else but me FRO…just wondering or nah….go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 24, 2021 at 8:46 am

        “nah” … how clever. Quite the wordsmith. (It’s all about him) WView was right … he’s nothing more than a troll. Just ignore him.

    • CalsPals

      May 24, 2021 at 10:16 am

      You’re right, difficult to at times, my bad…thx…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 24, 2021 at 11:48 am

        Very difficult.

        • 900E-33rdSt

          May 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm

          Hey there Negative Nellies, yeah, I would have responded like that to anyone else who can’t keep a negative comment. Yup, BRR it’s all about lol, me and my awesome predictions, me, me, me!!!

  2. Orial

    May 24, 2021 at 8:31 am

    There have been young arms we’ve watched sporadically arrive such as Kremer,Lowther,Zimmerman,Akin. We’ve watched them all stall out and eventually get sent back down. Rodriguez is different. He appears(hopefully) to be head and shoulders above anything we’ve seen. There’s no reason to rush and put him in that up and down caravan applied to the previously mentioned pitchers. Don’t start him as a reliever. 2023 in opening day rotation and leave him there. He IS the real deal.

    • Birdman

      May 24, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      Very encouraging report on Rodriguez … With respect to your comment on whether Rodriguez should begin as a reliever when he is eventually elevated to the Orioles, I would note that Dennis Martinez, Mike Flanagan, and Scott McGregor all were used as long relievers when they first joined the Orioles, and that worked out pretty well for them.

  3. Orioles20

    May 24, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Rodriguez has been dominant. The fact that the orioles were the team to find him from the middle of nowhere Texas is surprising. He’s the kind of pop up prospect you want. The kind that puts the work in for his body and naturally gets better. Not the Matt Hobgood kind where the kid goes to showcases and throws it as hard as he can to get the scouts attentions. Rodriguez seems to understand pitching instead of throwing which means he’s advanced for someone his age. Throughout the organization the pitching has been good.

  4. Bhoffman1

    May 24, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Yes he can be with Means a one two punch right now besides Means we have no punches. Did anyone see the 3 run bomb that Adley hit in the night inning yesterday. The sound of the ball off the bat put shivers in your spine.

    • dlgruber1

      May 24, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      I did not see it but I’m shocked to hear about it. Teams are simply not pitching to him which is an absurdity for minor league ball. His BA is around .240 yet his OBP is around .440. I get pitching around someone in MLB, but in the minors that’s BS.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        May 24, 2021 at 4:12 pm

        Opposing teams blatantly pitched around him at Oregon State also in his last two seasons there.

    • Icterus fan

      May 24, 2021 at 1:53 pm

      I DID see the Rutschman home run, and what an easy sweet swing he has. I hope he keeps progressing and gets here soon. I also hope that we dont collectively crucify him when/if he stumbles at the big league level.

      Grayson indeed looks the part of a serious, determined and focused young man. I love his no BS approach and confidence. I’m hoping he stays healthy and we don’t end up with a Hunter Harvey type flashing 100 mph in between stints on the DL (er, I mean IL)

      • Baltimore Castaway

        May 24, 2021 at 4:25 pm

        This is going to sound unfair towards H. Harvey, but there is really no comparison between H. Harvey and Adley Rutschman.

        H. Harvey is a “little rich kid” who has yet to get himself untracked as a Pro. He is injury-prone, he “banged-down” on manning-up to being a Starting Pitcher and chose instead to be a relief pitcher.

        He has yet to show any evidence that is is committed to being a successful Major League Player. In the words of Buddy Ryan, the late Chicago Bears Head Coach when he was asked about William “the Refrigerator” Perry —he is a “wasted draft pick”.

        Am certain that Mike Elias and Sig Megdal would not have drafted him and also doubt that Dan Duquette would have taken him if he had a do-over–he was drafted a Starting Pitcher, not a Relief Pitcher. Teams rarely knowingly draft someone in the first round on Relief Pitchers…actually, I’m tired of hearing about this guy..

        I highly doubt that H. Harvey would have agreed to signing for $600+K under slot to enable the Orioles to draft and sign Gunnar Henderson with the next pick….highly doubt it–because it’s all about him..

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 24, 2021 at 5:26 pm

          Wow, kind of rough on Hunter Harvey there BC. You’re normally a pretty forgiving type.

          Not entirely sure what “banged-down” means, but by the context with which you used it, it’s sounds sort of like you think Harvey took the easy way out by electing to go the with a relievers role? I don’t understand that thinking.

          Injury is not something you can control. Maybe he simply doesn’t have his father’s golden arm?

          “it’s all about him” … You really sound like you personally don’t like him. What do you know that we don’t? Bad interviews? What is it? I’m curious?

          • Baltimore Castaway

            May 24, 2021 at 6:13 pm

            Hi Boog,

            You are right….I am likely way too rough on him–and for that I apologize to him and to this blog’s readers.

            I go after him because he gives me the clear impression that he doesn’t seem to be interested in “busting his ass” to make a difference for the future of this franchise and leading the resurgence. He is more akin to Gausman, Bundy, Hobgood et al–none of them EVER showed any indication that they were happy to be an Oriole and be part of this franchise.

            Look at men like John Means, Trey Mancini, Steve Wilkerson and Cedric Mullins–they put the time in, they keep after it, they figure things out for themselves…they don’t make excuses…

            This guy was supposed to be a part of the vanguard for change–he is not. He has many excuses.

            His body of work indicates to me that he just doesn’t have “the juice” to actually realize his great potential…

            P.S.

            Cut your hillbilly haircut man–you don’t have any gravitas to look like that…

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            May 24, 2021 at 6:35 pm

            Ahhhhh….the haircut. We seem to have found some common ground regarding how we judge Harvey! It’s horrendous.

    • ClayDal

      May 24, 2021 at 6:02 pm

      Had to look back at Hunter Harvey’s signing bonus. As the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft, he received a bonus of 1.947 million dollars. Considering he had the leverage of going to college, he signed for a lot less than he could have. As far as being a starter vs relief pitcher, I would be happy just to see him healthy and be able to pitch for an entire year. And to get a haircut

    • CalsPals

      May 24, 2021 at 8:59 pm

      I’ll fourth the haircut, they’ve never made him pitch out of the problems he’s gotten himself into…go O’s…

  5. PC in OC

    May 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    With any other team, Rodriguez, is starting. Probably at 7-0. Just Daydreaming!!

    • dlgruber1

      May 24, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      As much as I hate to say it I’m just waiting for the other show to fall. I’m expecting to hear about the dreaded , yet now seemingly inevitable, Tommy John surgery.

  6. 900E-33rdSt

    May 24, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Rio Ruiz claimed by Colorado, hope he has much success there.

  7. Icterus fan

    May 24, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    ClayDal, I’ve noticed that several of our pitchers sport some serious flowing locks. I can’t imagine trying to keep a ball cap on with all that going on, not to mention the heat and humidity.
    Hunter Harvey works an impressive mullet, that’s for sure.

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