Julio Rodriguez Scouting Report (with video): 5/19/12

Well, this was fun. I had the chance to see Julio Rodriguez pitch on Saturday night in Reading against the New Britain Rock Cats. Yes, it’s the Eastern League, and yes, some of these guys probably will never make it to the Major Leagues, but let’s go ahead and commend both teams on the fact that they are currently one and two atop the E.L.’s Eastern Division.

OK, and now for the reason I was there: Julio Rodriguez. Obviously we knew going into this season who the big three would be in Reading: Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone, and Rodriguez. May has obviously been fantastic so far and Pettibone has been pretty solid as well, but Rodriguez is beginning to make his name known. Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium certainly didn’t hurt.

I was able to get some pretty crude video below, and I will be working on my video skills when I get up to Reading or Lehigh Valley this season. They aren’t pretty right now, and I know that. Along with Rodriguez, you’ll see a little bit of an at-bat that Sebastian Valle had, and some Darin Ruf action as well. Exciting, I know. You may even see a Matt Rizzotti appearance in the videos!

Anyway, Rodriguez was fantastic. He went seven innings, allowed just four hits, one run (it was unearned thanks to a blunder in RF by Leandro Castro), and had no walks and seven strikeouts. Anybody who has been to Reading knows by now that the radar gun can be a little touchy at times, and unfortunately this game was no different. For a fan just trying to hang out and watch the game and get some readings, it can be incredibly frustrating. Meanwhile, I will continue to be the random guy sitting around seeing 41 MPH pop up on the center field display and shaking my head.

Rodriguez was in control though. He threw 96 pitches, 63 for strikes. His fastball was sitting around 89-90 for most of the night, and it looked like he touched 91 or 92 at times, but again, the radar gun at Reading is man’s enemy. I will also say that the curveball Rodriguez throws is flat out one of the nastiest pitches I have ever seen in a minor league ballpark. I have questions about this stuff translating to the Major Leagues, because he doesn’t have that flashy velocity and does seem to leave some pitches in the zone. In the Eastern League, he’ll get away with that. It’s hard to hide those mistakes in the Major Leagues. It should not surprise anyone that Aaron Hicks gave Rodriguez the toughest time out of any hitter (in my estimation), and maybe that has something to do with the fact that Hicks is a pretty darn good baseball player.

That said, Rodriguez’s curveball is nasty. Sometimes he throws it around 72-74, and sometimes he’ll just loop one around 66 or 67. The one around 74 has some nice break to it, and the one around 67 honestly kind of looks like a modified Vicente Padilla eephus. My apologies to Julio Rodriguez for even bringing up Vicente Padilla’s name in this conversation.

I was pretty impressed with Rodriguez overall. He seemed to be pretty calm for most of the night, although you could tell he was laboring a little bit by the time the 7th rolled around. That’s fine. He had thrown 96 pitches, and I don’t think Dusty Wathan or Bob Milacki were expecting much more out of the right-hander. He impressed me enough, that’s for sure. The two-base error by Castro in right field cost Rodriguez a run, but he bounced back.

If Rodriguez does this for the rest of his life, he could turn into a great ROOGY in the Majors. If he does this for the rest of his life and doesn’t add any velocity to his fastball, I have a hard time seeing him as an MLB starter. But, there is time here, folks. Rodriguez doesn’t turn 22 until August, and the Phillies will be patient with him.

In his profile, James had this for Rodriguez:

Arm Strength:50

Fastball:50/60

Control:60/65

Command:60/65

Mechanics:50

Durability:60

Secondary Pitches:50/60

I would say the fastball is a 55, and the secondary pitches are now a 55, with a chance to fill out to a 65. That curveball is something else. Everything else looks pretty accurate.

He is now 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA for the season. The 20 walks in 39 innings have obviously been a bit of a concern, but no walks for Rodriguez on this night and seven strikeouts should leave a lot of people happy with his performance.

Lastly, I want to thank Gregg for allowing me to write this piece. I will be contributing to this site here and there, and when I get to Reading or LHV I will certainly be taking video. I will try to get up there and see May and Pettibone at some point and take some video for you all. I also want to thank James for all of his great work on this site over the years, and I know he will be around contributing in some way, shape, or form. Just like him, I’m a fan. I’m not a scout and I’m not an expert, although baseball has been a passion of mine since I was about six. I’m just a recent college grad with too much time on his hands and a lot of games to scout. I hope to convey my passion to the readers in my time here, and I hope to work with James and others to work on my scouting lingo as well.

For now, thanks for checking in. If you have any questions about Rodriguez or anyone else from this game, I’ll try to answer them in the comments. Video below.

16 thoughts on “Julio Rodriguez Scouting Report (with video): 5/19/12

  1. Thanks for the report, Reading is on MILB.tv on Friday through Monday night, looking forward to catching some games.

  2. Nice to hear your comments on the improvements in his FB and secondary stuff. I’m not sure why, if his curve is so good, that his secondary offering is only a 55 though? Based on what you wrote, I was figuring his FB to be 50 and his secondary at 70+.

    Thank you very much for putting this togeather, I really enjoy these types of reports.

    1. Well, the fastball was pretty tough to get a read on with the terrible radar gun at Reading. I don’t know what to say about that. From watching him, it could have been 88, it could have been 89, it could have been 91. I just reported what it looked like he was sitting at for most of the night. There were definitely at least two or three occasions where he reared back and threw a 90 or 91 heater and it came up on the board as 38 MPH. Sorry, not my fault. I am writing to Reading and telling them to get a new gun.

      Here’s what James had on the scouting lingo page:

      80 = plus-plus (++) or elite: These grades are rarely used. Examples include: Stephen Strasburg’s fastball, Mike Stanton’s power, Carl Crawford’s speed
      70 = well above average: This is MLB all star level. Not quite the best of the best, but pretty consistently close.
      60 = above average (+): You’d consider this a strength of the player, but he’s not the best or one of the very best.
      50 = average: Just what it says. Major League average.
      40 = below average: The tool is not consistently an average offering
      30 = well below average: This is a glaring weakness in a player’s game
      20 = poor: One of the worst in baseball: Examples include Bengie Molina’s speed, Juan Pierre’s power, and Mark Reynolds’ ability to make contact

      Right now, if he came up to the Major Leagues, I would have Rodriguez’s curve at 55. I don’t think that would fly up here from what I saw. It could develop into a 65, which would be a really nice pitch to have in the Majors.

  3. According to his Monday Ten Pack Kevin Goldstein at BP suggested that with J-Rod now proving it at AA in the same way he has done in previous years his ceiling has moved to back end starter (4/5), which considering how little hype he has gotten from the national sources is awesome and firmly I think places him in the Top 10 going forward, and maybe if he finds 1-2 more MPH on the fastball he can become a #3 which would be awesome.

  4. Listen, everyone can go ahead and claim we don’t have any future because we don’t have that can’t miss guy, but we’re the bleeping Philadelphia Phillies, we have an awesome scouting department, players want to come play here, and there is quality depth in the system.

  5. Victor, thank you for taking the time to give us this update. I found it very informative and look forward to reading more about the AA and AAA teams. I only found this site about a year ago and until then once a player left lakewood ( I’m about 12 miles from the ballpark) I wouldnt hear much about them other than alumni stories in the local paper. I’m a lifelong Phillies fan and have died a lot of slow deaths over the years but getting the WC in 08 with the chance for more in the near future makes all the dark days worth it

  6. Thank you for the write up. The coverup of Jrod’s velocity looks like a government conspiracy at this point.

  7. “His fastball was sitting around 89-90 for most of the night, and it looked like he touched 91 or 92 at times,”

    Can you elaborate on the fastball speeds? Were most of the Reading pitch speeds credible with a few obvious glitches or did everything seem wacky? Thank you very much for the post!

    1. I really don’t believe anything the Reading gun says. I wrote them a letter last night to see what they say. I told them I would even help pay for it.

      Honestly, the fastball readings were around 87-90, but he was sitting 88-89 from what I could tell, and he reared back and definitely amped it up a few times, but that seems to be when the scoreboard told me it was 41 MPH and not 91.

      1. Thanks Victor for the video update as it looks like Julio Rodriguez has a very deceptive motion against RH batters and his ball has late movement to keep batters off balance. How was JRod against LH batters for the rest of the game? Ruff looked like he had a good eye but that one taken strike was questionable. Valle looks like a hacker like the rest of our big team.

    1. Johnny Cueto? Yeah, that’s a fair comparison, with an MLB ERA about a run higher if everything works out right.

  8. Great work, Vic. If you are going to keep this up for the season, there will be plenty of we Phils Phans who will nominate you as the King of the videos for this site. (It’s GOOD to be the King!) Do I hear a 2nd? Done!

    Thanks. I can’t wait for a video of Asche batting at Clwtr or Reading.

    Thanks again!

    1. No problem. I’m in a bit of a tough situation because I can’t drive right now (seizure law) but I will try to make it up to Reading a few more times and LHV a couple times.

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