Welcome to the 4th installment of the “What to expect in 2012″ series. We’ve previously covered Trevor May, Jon Pettibone and Sebastian Valle. Today we’ll cover one of the more controversial prospects in the system, RHP Julio Rodriguez. J-Rod was an under the radar 8th round selection in 2008 out of Puerto Rico and since signing, he’s posted big strikeout numbers, low ERAs, and very divergent scouting reports. Some reports had his velocity in the 90-93 range, average for a RHP. Other reports had him at 86-89, far below average for a RHP. I wrote this about J-Rod way back in 2008 after he was drafted:
He’s got a great pitcher’s frame, and his motion has lots of arms and knees, which could probably create some deception. His fastball has decent life, and the Phillies are probably banking on him adding velo as he fills out his frame. The only thing I really noticed, from the side, is that it seems that he hangs over the rubber for a split second, which might be holding back some of his velocity.
he’s obviously a project, I’d bet he repeats the GCL next year unless he just lights up the world in Instructs and looks awesome in the spring. If he fills out his frame and adds 2-3 mph on his fastball and can tighten his curveball, we might have something. The Phillies seem to do a decent job with projectable RHP (Myers and Madson come to mind), so we’ll see what happens here. Its going to be a slow road for Rodriguez, but assuming he’s healthy next year, he should be a fun one to monitor over the summer.
He did repeat the GCL in 2009 and performed well, and he’s moved somewhat slowly, reaching A+ in his 4th pro season (3rd full season) He hasn’t added a ton of velocity, but again, that depends on the report you read. But the results speak for themselves…take a look:
As I’ve said in every top 30 write-up since he was drafted, he’s going to have to prove himself at every level. The jump from A+ to AA is massive, especially in the Phillies system for pitchers, as they go from a pitcher friendly league to a hitter friendly league and a very hitter friendly home park. His GB% plummeted to just 30% in 2011, and that will cause problems next year if it persists. The most impressive stat for Rodriguez has been his opponent’s BA. In 2011 it was .184, and that follows sub .200 numbers in both 2010 and 2009. Hitters are definitely not seeing the ball out of his hand, and it leads to a lot of weak contact. What is the secret? Is it the long arms and legs? Can he continue to repeat it? 2012 is going to be a huge year for J-Rod, in whatever role the Phillies use him. What are your expectations?