Selected 126th overall in the 2016 amateur draft, Chris Rodriguez has soared through the ranks quickly for a guy with only 11 professional innings under his belt. He made the most of his debut, with a 17/3 SO/BB ratio, allowing only 2 earned runs in 7 games. He showed good command of a mid-90’s fastball, flashing a tight slider as well as a change-up. The pitch-mix is a standard one, but it bodes well that he was able to pound the strike zone as a 17 year-old.
Rodriguez has a bit of funk in his delivery, hiding the ball as long as possible before whipping it through the zone. The quick arm action is reminiscent of a power reliever, though his three-pitch mix and plus command have the Angels grooming him to start. His slider darts away from right-handed batters, coming from the same angle as his fastball. His change-up compliments his heater, though he needs to work on maintaining the same arm speed for the pitch to deceive more advanced hitters.
The young right-hander ended his prep career on a high note, pitching a 1-0, two-hit shutout in the Class 5A state semifinal. He was named Pitcher of the Year at the Miami Herald’s All-Dade Athletic Awards Ceremony, earning First Team honors, as well. Despite dominating hitters in rookie ball, expect the Angels to move slowly with young Rodriguez. The stuff is electric; the key is to iron-out his mechanics to keep him healthy and maintain that velocity. While far too early to make any realistic projections, Rodriguez profiles as a back-end reliever, with the ceiling of a number three starter. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.