Evaluating the 2019 season of Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and assigning a grade based on how his production lived up to expectations.
Looking back at the Red Sox 2019 season one will remember it being an overall disappointment. However, there were a few positives that one can take from this season. The biggest bright spot for the pitching staff was just how fantastic Eduardo Rodriguez was.
Rodriquez had a quietly solid 2019 campaign as he was undoubtedly Boston’s best pitcher. I will provide some numbers to prove that not only was he the best pitcher on the team but, he was also one of the best starting pitchers in the American League and in all of Major League Baseball. This is because he was ranked inside the top 10 in most pitching stats in the AL and cracked a few important stats in the MLB top 10.
Rodriguez ranked 9th in the AL with a stellar 3.81 ERA. He ranked an outstanding 3rd in the AL in wins with 19 and had the 6th highest win percentage with 76%. He also had a terrific WAR rate for pitchers which was 5th in the AL at 6.0. According to baseball-reference, having a WAR of 5.0 or over is all-star quality caliber pitching.
He certainly played that way because he was also terrific in terms of his ability to stay healthy this season by pitching a total of over 200 innings this year. Rodriguez finally showed that he was able to stay healthy and avoid the injury bug. He ranked 6th in the AL in innings with 203.1. He also finished 10th in hits per nine innings, 8th in K/9, and he had the 6th lowest home run rate with a low 1.062 HR/9. He even had a lower HR/9 than Gerrit Cole, who I believe will most likely be this year’s AL CY Young Award winner.
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Eduardo also cracked the top 10 in a few major categories in all of MLB for pitchers. He was number 7th among major-league pitchers in WAR, he was 3rd in wins, and he was 10th in win percentage.
I think what makes his numbers even more impressive is the fact that he is pitching half of his games at Fenway Park which is a huge advantage to a hitter with the green monster in left field and a very shallow right field. The dimensions of the park are not in Eduardo or any pitchers’ favor and yet he had put up some terrific numbers this season.
I want to provide some more numbers as to why Eduardo was the ace of the starting staff this year for the Sox who trudged through the season with injuries and bad play. Rodriguez showed some good stuff this year because according to brooks baseball, his four-seam fastball was at an average of 93.26 miles per hour and he threw a hard changeup that went at an average of 87.86 mph. Rodriguez also had a solid whiff percentage rate at 20% when he threw his changeup.
Overall, I give Eduardo a solid A for the work, he did this year. He emerged from the bottom of the starting pitching depth chart to potentially a possible starter for opening day in 2020.
I expect Eduardo to be a backbone in the starting rotation for years to come. Hopefully, he can keep elevating his game. The only critiques I have of Eduardo are, that he tends to leave some of his pitches out in the middle of the plate for guys to hit. He allowed a lot of hits against this season tied for 5th highest in the AL. Also, if he can keep his number of walks down just a bit then he would be just about perfect. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, he finished with an MLB rank of 8th highest amount of base on balls. If he can locate his pitches a little bit better I firmly believe his amount of walks and hits will go down because he does have some killer stuff.
If it were not for Cole and Justin Verlander I would say that “Steady Eddie” Rodriguez would be a terrific candidate for the American League Cy Young award.