The San Diego Padres are stockpiling young arms and Hansel Rodriguez is the Padres most recent addition. He was acquired Tuesday morning from the Toronto Blue Jays for Melvin Upton Jr. The team has already added Anderson Espinoza and Chris Paddack this season among the dozens of new international pitchers and draft picks and his addition is certainly exciting. The team is building a great pitching staff at the lower minor league level and it is a great time for Padres fans.
Hansel Rodriguez has a very nice arm, although he is definitely a work in progress. The right handed thrower has a power fastball but little else at this point. He is really lacking secondary pitches presently but is making progress at the age of 19 in Rookie Ball. For the Blue Jays Bluefield team he went 2-1 in six starts and 32 innings this season. He struck out 26 batters while walking 11 and only allowing one home run. The potential is there, he just needs to be more consistent and refine his motion.
Take a look at him in this video against the Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. You will see he has a power fastball and a mostly smooth, easy motion. He gets through the ball very well and looks very athletic on the mound. Rodriguez has decent size at 6′ 2″ and should gain more pounds with age. He is presently listed at 170 lbs but there are reports he has been putting more weight on his frame. In this video he ultimately gets Guerrero to tap out to the catcher on a breaking pitch after two decent heaters. You can certainly see the skill set in this young man.
Rodriguez has indeed added a few pounds to his frame and with that his fastball velocity has bumped up to the 97-98 MPH range after previously sitting in the low to mid 90’s. That is exciting for Padres fans as this young man has a very lively arm. He was signed as a 16-year-old during the 2013-2014 international signing period for $330,000. If he never gets a feel for his breaking pitches, he could be developed as a bullpen piece down the road.
A.J. Preller may have had interest in Rodriguez in 2013-2014 as a member of the Rangers front office. You can be sure he was aware of Rodriguez and his abilities since Preller is an international market expert. In three years at the Rookie Ball level, Rodriguez is 3-6 in 25 games and 19 starts. In those 93 inning pitched he has struck out 76 batters while walking 33 resulting in a 4.61 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP. Those numbers are not overly impressive by any means but the young man was 17-19 years old. At his young age the numbers he put up can be looked on as pretty respectable. There is one thing for certain he has work to do. Rodriguez is very raw, but at any time he can make a fast jump through the minor league system. He has that type of skill. It is going to take hard work from this kid and a little luck. The ability is there, the rest is up to him.