JOELY RODRIGUEZ
LEFT HANDED PITCHER
Born: November 14, 1991
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 175
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2009
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: LA Sports Management

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Rodriguez is a lefty with a live arm who was pretty raw when the Pirates brought him to the US.  When I first saw him in camp, his fastball was getting as high as 95, although it was mostly in the low 90s.  His command was very poor at the time, but it’s improved markedly.  In games, he generally sits in the 91-94 range with good movement.  He throws a slider and change, but neither has been a swing-and-miss pitch so far.  He’s been effective as a starter in the low minors, but in the long run he might be more suited to relief.

2009
DSL:  2-5-0, 4.60 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 47 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 4.6 K/9 

Struggled in the DSL, allowing a .291 opponents’ average and walking the same number he struck out.

2010
R:  2-2-1, 3.99 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 47.1 IP, 1.3 BB/9, 4.9 K/9
A-:  0-0-0, 6.75 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 4.5 K/9 

Despite the weak DSL performance, the Pirates assigned Rodriguez to the GCL for his second pro season.  The move worked out well, as Rodriguez improved rapidly, enough so that the team promoted him to State College once the GCL season ended.  He dramatically improved his control, although his K rate was low.  His ground out to air out ratio was 1.93.  He got into two games at State College and pitched well in one and not the other.

2011
A-:  0-1-0, 5.40 ERA, 2.60 WHIP, 5 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Rodriguez opened at State College and struggled through two games before going on the disabled list for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

2012
A-:  3-4-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 64.0 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 4.5 K/9

Rodriguez spent 2012 in the State College rotation.  He pitched well the first two months, but in August opponents batted .319 against him and he had an ERA of 4.98.  He made a lot of progress with his control, but had trouble locating within the strike zone.  His secondary pitches still have a ways to go, as shown by the extremely low K rate.  For some reason Rodriguez had a lot of trouble with left-handed hitters, who batted .389 against him.

2013
A:  5-5-0, 2.72 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 72.2 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
A+:  4-3-0, 2.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 67.1 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 5.9 K/9

Rodriguez made a lot of progress in 2013.  He opened the season in the West Virginia rotation and, after struggling a little in early April, had a nine-start stretch with an ERA of 1.01.  That earned him a promotion and he continued pitching well in high A.  Overall, his K rate was up, although it was higher before the promotion.  He had a big platoon split; on the season, left-handed batters hit only 212/290/281 against him, while right-handed batters hit 287/333/421.  He’s always been a groundball pitcher, but his groundball rate increased.  He may have tired a little — his innings total more than doubled from 2012, which wouldn’t count what he threw in extended spring training — as he didn’t pitch as well in August as July.  He still had a 3.68 ERA in August, though.

Rodriguez has progressed rapidly the last couple of years and, despite largely missing the 2011 season, will still pitch the 2014 season at age 22.  He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates added him to the 40-man roster.  He’ll open at Altoona.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2014: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $55,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2013
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
March 25, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
November 20, 2013: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.