The BoSox Injection staff’s preview of the Boston Red Sox 25-man roster continues with a look at starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.
One of the few bright spots in the Boston Red Sox rotation last season was the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez.
We had heard a lot about the promising prospect, who the Red Sox acquired from the Baltimore Orioles at the 2014 deadline for Andrew Miller. As painful as it was to see the dominant reliever go, his impending free agency combined with Boston’s spot in the standings necessitated the deal. The trade was widely viewed as a steal for the Red Sox, as a starting pitching prospect with Rodriguez’s upside should always trump a rental for a middle reliever, no matter how good he is. Less than a year after the trade, we finally got to see it pay off.
The 22-year old made his major league debut on May 28, blanking the Texas Rangers over 7 and 2/3 innings to earn his first career victory. Despite spending the better part of two months in the minors, limiting him to only 21 starts, Rodriguez still tied for second on the team with 10 wins. More impressive is that his 2.5 WAR was also tied for second on the team.
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E-Rod delivered a solid 3.85 ERA, but wasn’t immune to the occasional meltdown that can be expected from a rookie as young as he is. He was roughed up for 6+ runs four times last season, including a 9 run shellacking at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays in June and another in July against the Los Angeles Angels in which he failed to make it out of the second inning. The flip side of that is he allowed three runs or less in every other start, so while prone to the occasional dud, he also proved capable of being dominant.
At times during his debut season the Red Sox became concerned that the rookie might be tipping his pitches, which may explain some of those brutal outings. With help from the coaching staff, Rodriguez was able to fix the flaws in his mechanics that led to opponents teeing off on pitches that they appeared to know were coming. He posted a sparkling 2.08 ERA over his final seven starts, signaling those struggles were behind him.
Heading into his sophomore season, the key for Rodriguez will be consistency. We got a taste last year of how good he can be when he’s on top of his game, so it’s only a matter of time before he puts it all together over a full season. With a year of experience under his belt, look for the young lefty to make a leap this season.
Scouts have always been enamored with Rodriguez’s talent, with some believing that he has ace-caliber upside. The Red Sox don’t need him to be their ace now that David Price is on board, but Rodriguez can still pitch like one without having the pressure of carrying that label. He may still be years away from reaching his peak, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long for Rodriguez to make his way into the conversation of the game’s top young pitchers.