In Ben Cherington’s finest move of the 2014 trade deadline, the Red Sox traded left-handed reliever Andrew Miller for Orioles’ prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who had broken onto the scene with a great 2013 season between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, was struggling in his second taste of Double-A; however, he turned it all around with a phenomenal debut in the Red Sox organization. After such a strong start to his Red Sox career, there are high hopes for Rodriguez and it’s worth wondering whether he could make an appearance in Boston’s rotation as soon as next season.
Signed out of Venezuela by the Orioles in 2010, Rodriguez has moved quickly through the Minor Leagues. Still just 21 years old, he closed out the season with six excellent starts for the Portland Sea Dogs, allowing just 4 runs on 30 hits and 8 walks while punching out 39 batters in 37.1 innings pitched.
That success is obviously aided by small sample size as he obviously would not post an ERA below 1.00 over the course of a full season. However, it was certainly a welcome change from the earlier portion of his season as he had posted a 4.79 ERA in 16 starts for Bowie previously.
Going forward, Rodriguez is likely to be in between the two extremes, with most scouts pegging him as a future mid-rotation starter with the ceiling of a #2. Still, Rodriguez certainly deserves his fair share of hype going forward.
Relatively polished for a 21 year-old, Rodriguez has smooth mechanics, solid command, three solid pitches, and a fastball that sits in the low 90’s. All those tools point to him contributing very soon in Boston.
Rodriguez will likely start the 2015 season in Triple-A Pawtucket but, considering the lack of depth in Boston’s rotation right now (though they’ll certainly look to improve that in the offseason), it may not take much to bump him up to the Majors. The Red Sox are likely to acquire at least two pitchers this offseason but it’s quite possible that the fifth spot in the rotation will still be suspect come next season. If that’s the case, then Rodriguez has arguably the most polish of anybody in the Minor Leagues and it’s quite possible that he could spend some time in the rotation next season.