Jose Rodriguez, SS, CHW

Jose Rodriguez hit everywhere he went in 2021. Do we believe in this talent?

  • Born: May 13, 2001
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 5’11”, 175-lbs
  • Signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2018 out of the Dominican Republic

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

So will his AA OBP be .348, and his AAA be .358, and his major league be .368? I love linear lines, and no, I do not expect that, but it is cool to see a batter rise levels and increase his OBP by 10 points every stop.

Please note that his 2018 is from the Dominican Summer League, and no, we do not put much faith in such numbers. Still, he was above average there, and that’s all we want to see.

Then he gets to Rookie league in the States, opens a can of spinach and, like Popeye, starts dinging the ball left and right. That was the only season his strikeout rate wasn’t sterling, just good.

His walk rate is sub-par, but he hits enough to overcome it, and when you are hitting dingers it can be boring to draw a walk. Learn to draw them, Jose. It will come in handy later.

Breaking out his 2021 season, and yes, we are ignoring his Double-A time since it consisted of basically one long weekend at 14 plate appearances. We won’t get much out of that, so let’s move on.

He spent about 72% of the year in A-ball, and he had a good batting eye, above average production, decent power, and speed.

Then he gets bumped to High-A and his OBP goes through the roof, the power increases, the strikeouts go even lower and his speed is 50% better. A 141 wRC+ is nifty indeed. No wonder he eschewed the walks: if it ain’t broke…

Wow.

That was my reaction when I saw his High-A numbers against lefties and righties were write-home worthy. He did better against righties in Low-A, but in High-A he simply hit great against them all.

This doesn’t include 2021, but it does have that .212 ISO in 2019, and though it’s pull power, there are some opposite field shots included as well.

The Scouts

Warnings

We need to see him do it in a full season at Double-A before we completely buy in.

Is this new power real?

Conclusion

BaseballHQ, in its Minor League Baseball Analyst book, said this about Jose Rodriguez:

Athletic, toolsy MIF got up to AA during 20-year-old season. Solid foundational hit tool. Quick hands guide short, compact swing with up-the-middle approach. Power has emerged as gap-to-gap with average power to all fields; think 20-25 HR at projection. A plus runner, stole 30 bases. Has a fringe arm at SS; likely 2B outcome.

So Jose Rodriguez is about projection. He will be starting Double-A in 2022 while he is still 20 years old. There’s time for that power to grow and solidify. And with his short, compact swing, his speed, and his batting eye, this is a middle infielder who can produce good value in real life and on fantasy teams.

Assuming he does well to start the year in Double-A, he should see Triple-A by summer, and then 2023 in the majors. He’s a good one.

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