Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210 lbs
Acquired: NDFA (7/2/08)
Born: 11/18/91 (Santo Domingo, DR)
2011 Rank: 8
Why Ranked Here: Rodriguez has bounced around my rankings, from 24 two years ago, to eight last year, and now 15.
Lets be clear about why he stayed in the top 20: he has outstanding raw power. It’s a plus tool right now, and he only turned 20 in November. When he gets into a ball, he can hit it a mile. One of my favorite swings of the 2011 season was Rodriguez taking a 3-1 fastball from Jameson Taillon, the Pirates’ top prospect deep about 425’ just to the right of straight away center field. Absolutely crushed it.
In fact, Rodriguez’s 17 homers set a new Gnats’ high as a Mets affiliate, a relationship that began with the 2007 season. Sean Ratliff, who hit 15 in 2009, held the previous Gnats’ high as a Mets affiliate. Rodriguez’s 17 were the most by any Gnat since the immortal Luke Montz (joking) launched 19 in 2005.
So why did he slip out of the top 10? Everything else about his game needs work. The one saving grace is that he just turned 20, so he might have time to figure everything out.
He just got himself out at the plate too much, chasing pitches. His strikeout rate of 19% was not obscene, but it strayed towards a high level for a top prospect. His walk rate of 5% must improve. Sure, his .247 BABIP held down his overall batting average to .221, but in part, that too was a product of approach. He got under too many balls producing too many pop-ups, and lazy flyouts, leading to the low BABIP.
In the field, his feet work surprisingly well for a guy his size. His arm is strong enough for third as well. Here, the question is his hands. He struggles on balls hit right at him. He improved, but still has to become cleaner/more confident on balls a step to either side of him. On slow rollers when he has to charge and only has time to barehand, he does well.
The odds are good he’ll have to move to first. In a most optimistic scenario, he becomes a legit slugger at the position.
2011: Again, .221/.265/.372 (disappointing) with 17 home runs (good) and 44 errors (bad).
Dr. Pangloss Says: Big-time power bat at first.
Debbie Downer Says: AAA slugger.
Projected 2012 Start: Savannah. This, like Wilmer Flores in front of him is an interesting question and the assignment will have to be part of a larger assessment about who best serves the organization playing where.
MLB Arrival: 2015
Here are my radio calls of some Aderlin Rodriguez homers:
A 13th inning walk-off:
The Taillon Blast: