Today I will break down the swing of Mets 3B prospect Aderlin Rodriguez using video recorded by Mike Newman of ScoutingtheSally.com. Newman has video and his own scouting reports on many Mets and other organization’s prospects. If you are a prospect lover, be sure to check out his site.
Rodriguez has a very traditional set-up at the plate: knees slightly bent, hands in ideal position just behind his right ear. This set-up puts Rodriguez in optimal hitting position.
For the most part his lower half is pretty quiet. Rodriguez picks up his front heal as his timing mechanism. As he raises his front heal, he shifts his weight slightly to his backside. As he matures as a hitter, Rodriguez should incorporate more of his powerful lower half into his swing. A deeper lower half load and more explosive hip movement towards the baseball would increase his already high power potential. Rodriguez maintains solid balance with his quiet lower half throughout his swing.
Rodriguez is a predominately a hands hitter. That is not a bad thing, considering his swing plane and bat speed. As Rodriguez loads his hands, he does drop them slightly, making him susceptible to fastballs above the belt. However, Rodriguez does take his hands directly to the baseball. Rodriguez does have a bit of a front arm bar, meaning he tends to get his front arm extended and straightened a little early. This makes the swing a bit longer, as it causes the bat head to drag through the hitting zone. Ideally, you want the front arm to have a slight bend to it, in order to create optimum bat speed. As Rodriguez gets the barrel through the zone, his wrist snap is exceptional; meaning he fires the bat head forcefully through the zone. For a big man, Rodriguez has a free and easy swing. His swing path creates natural loft, ideal for a power hitter.
Rodriguez has a lot of people in Mets-land very excited, and rightfully so. He has a rare combination of size, plus bat speed, and natural loft in his swing, while being able to make consistent contact for an 18 year old. Rodriguez has a chance to be an impact middle of the order type hitter and big time run producer, as he matures. Yes, he is a long way away, but the skill set is there for Rodriguez to become a top flight hitting prospect.
TH: Mike’s the former player and expert on mechanical stuff, but I wanted to point something else out. Mike called Rodriguez’s lower half “quiet,” which I agree with. Even so, I see an effective weight transfer from back leg to front leg during the swing. As Rodriguez becomes more comfortable, he’ll learn to drive even more effectively off the back leg.