With all the talk of our supposed top power prospect being left off the 40-man roster approaching the Rule 5 Draft, it makes sense to give the man a little extra coverage. Meet Aderlin Rodriguez, infield prospect for the New York Mets.
First off, calm your minds about the Rule V Draft – I was worried myself, but he can be protected for the minor league portion and his skill set and results so far do not lend itself to the idea that he could survive on an MLB roster for a full year. I know someone out there will always say that the Astros could just pick this kid and stash him on their bench for a year, but it is unlikely, because Aderlin Rodriguez is a potential talent – and no guarantee.
The best way to describe this kid is raw. The potential is there, no doubt about it, but he is a raw young player. A recently turned 21-year old IFA, Rodriguez stands at 6’3” and 210 lbs. There is some debate as to his body as he is sometimes described as having a thick frame. He is big, and has the potential to improve on his already impressive power but also runs the risk of being hampered by his own frame. His fielding is passable, but it will very likely prompt a move away from third base to first base. His ability to hit for contact is thrown into question because he is an aggressive hitter, the power is his real claim to fame. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find another prospect in the Mets system with the same amount of power as Aderlin Rodriguez. And just to make sure I cross these off the board – he has an above-average arm and is slow on the basepaths.
The good news about A-Rod is that his most recent campaign in 2012 gave us all reason to be excited about his future. He posted career highs in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, batting average, and total bases. His slash was .263/.321/.476 across two levels and although the batting average is not too pleasant, it is an improvement off the .221 average in 2011. The improvement across the board was nice but he did struggle slightly upon his promotion to St.Lucie from Savannah around the middle of the year. He did take some time to get used to Savannah though, so there is hope yet.
Looking ahead to the future, it becomes really risky ground to try and profile Aderlin Rodriguez. He strikes out way too much to sustain a high average (100+ Ks in 2011 / 2012) but he supplements it with perhaps the best power in the Mets minor league system. Time is still very much on his side, even if he starts his age 21 season in St.Lucie. I do not think he will strike out as much as Mark Reynolds, but I also doubt heavily that he will walk as much as Adam Dunn or show that kind of power.
The bottom line for Aderlin Rodriguez is that a strong work ethic and dedication to the game could potentially put him on the track to a successful MLB career, but I doubt that he will be a star. Can he be a productive MLB regular, however? Absolutely. I could see him turning into a player that bats .250 with 25 HRs and 80 RBIs, with maybe 30 doubles and a 40 BB/120 K ratio. His floor, however, could very well be some kind of platoon player – and even his best possible outcome likely puts him at First Base or at DH. Be aware though that there is no reason to lose faith in Aderlin Rodriguez yet because a young hitter with raw power could make me look dumb for doubting him in a few years.
ETA for Rodriguez: 2016