Shorebird of the Week – May 31, 2012

Lost in the hubbub about a mega-piching prospect who recently departed Delmarva is the work of another 19-year-old starting pitcher who has excelled when called upon. But Eduardo Rodriguez has shown over his nine starts that he can contribute quality innings, and thanks to scoring rules he’s tied for the team lead in quality starts (defined as six innings pitched with three or fewer earned runs) with three. These were consecutive from May 5-18, against Charleston, Kannapolis, and Hagerstown.

The Venezuelan is with his first full-season team since beginning his pro career in 2010 with the Orioles’ entry in the Dominican Summer League, but the numbers have remained solid throughout his advancement in the system – 3-4 with a 2.13 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2010, 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 2011 (primarily with the Gulf Coast League Orioles) and 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.19 WHIP here with Delmarva so far this season. All but one of his 32 total career appearances have been starts, and he’s had a couple outings this season which were shortened due to weather – generally it appears that Eduardo is capable of at least six good innings per start.

While he hasn’t been quite as dominating at this level – not averaging about a strikeout per inning as he had with the rookie league teams – Rodriguez is still exhibiting pinpoint control as he’s only walked 13 in 37 innings so far this season. Nor is he susceptible to the longball, as the one home run he’s given up in 151 1/3 career innings occurred in his lone Aberdeen appearance to close out last season. In other words, the kid can pitch.

So what will become of Eduardo in the future? He hasn’t appeared on the prospect radar screen quite yet but continuing his success at the full-season level may place him on the map. With a new draft crop coming in later next month, my guess is that Rodriguez will pitch to a limit of about 100 to 110 innings – if the Shorebirds stay with a six-man rotation he could come close to getting a full-season complement of starts; otherwise, he may be throttled back somewhat in August. But he’s one pitcher who gives a light-hitting Shorebird squad a good chance of winning so he should remain a rotation mainstay.

Author: Michael

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