A lack of off days has caused the call up of Eduardo Rodriguez for a spot start. After being traded to the Red Sox in 2014, the 22-year old left-hander has been very impressive in the Boston Red Sox minor league affiliates. The Red Sox hope that this minor league success can translate to success in Major League Baseball.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been one of the top 100 prospects in MLB coming into the past two seasons. Acquired by the Red Sox at the trade deadline last July, Rodriguez has done nothing but impress in his short time in the system. Tonight, the 22 year old left-hander will make his major league debut against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
This season with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, Rodriguez has started eight games, putting up an ERA of 2.98 in 48 ⅓ innings. He throws a fastball, changeup and slider and has shown very good command, walking only 7 batters while striking out 48. In all eight appearances, Eduardo has gone at least 5 innings. The number of pitches he has thrown has ranged from 78 to 99. In his last AAA outing, on Saturday against the Louisville Bats, Rodriguez threw 93 pitches in seven innings of work, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight singles and a double. He struck out six.
Rodriguez, who is naturally right-handed, started pitching as a southpaw after breaking his right arm as a seven year old. Signed by the Baltimore Orioles as an international free agent in 2010, Rodriguez quickly moved up the Baltimore system, landing with the AA Bowie Baysox in 2013 at 20 years old. Rodriguez struggled in his first stint in AA, starting 11 games and putting up an ERA of 4.22 over 59 ⅔ innings. He returned to Bowie to begin 2014, but a knee strain placed him on the DL for five weeks in April and May. He continued to struggle for the Baysox, recording a 4.79 ERA in 16 starts prior to his trade.
On July 31, 2014, Eduardo Rodriguez was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller. Orioles’ General Manager Dan Duquette stated that trading Rodriguez was not something he wanted to do:
“It wasn’t our first choice to trade him. The kid has talent and he has youth, but, again, our team is in the race. We want to continue what we started, and we needed to add to our club to be competitive with the other clubs, not just in our division, but the other clubs in the American League in the playoff situation.”
Whatever problems Rodriguez was having in Bowie quickly disappeared when he joined the Red Sox AA affiliate. In six regular season starts for the Portland Sea Dogs, Rodriguez allowed only four runs over 37 ⅓ innings. In his final five starts for the Sea Dogs, Eduardo pitched at least six innings. Rodriguez would also pitch twice in the postseason. He started the third game of the Eastern League semifinals against the Binghamton Mets, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing three runs, two earned, on three doubles and two walks:
After the Sea Dogs were eliminated in five games, Rodriguez was promoted for his first start in AAA. With the Pawtucket Red Sox facing elimination, Eduardo pitched seven strong innings against the Durham Bulls, allowing two earned runs on five singles, a double and a pair of walks. The PawSox would go on to win the game in 13 innings and win the series the next day:
Plus arm speed, feel for three pitches. His velocity and the life out of his hand with his fastball, it’s explosive. He’s got swing-and-miss capability. But what I love about him is the way he competes. He’s another one of these arms that you just go, ‘Whoa.’ He’s one of the top guys, just from the one look I saw. He looks like he’s one of our best guys.
Rodriguez is slated to start today’s game and then rejoin Pawtucket for further grooming. Considering the start of his Red Sox career, however, a long term call-up could happen relatively quickly. Today, we will catch a glimpse of that future.