Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospects #30: Freddy Rodriguez


Blue Jays outfielder Freddy Rodriguez kicks off our coverage of Toronto’s top-30 prospects in 2016, which will
count down daily until we hit number one!

It’s officially time to begin the countdown of Jays Journal’s Top-30 Blue Jays prospects entering 2016. Earlier this week, we took a look at the crowded group of talented young names that just missed the cut for the final list. If you haven’t checked those out already, they’re a good prologue to the coming rankings:

Part One:  Smoral, Dawson, Bergen, Carlson and more
Part Two:  Cardenas, Suriel and some far-off upside

Our top-30 rankings, as voted on by our staff, will count down from 30 to number one with a prospect profile each morning. To kick us off, we have the young Venezuelan outfielder Freddy Rodriguez, a 2013 international signing hoping for a breakout campaign in 2016

Name:  Freddy Omar (Lindarte) Rodriguez
Position:  RF     Age:  19
Height:  6’0″     Weight:  180lbs
Bats/Throws:  L / R
Acquired:  International free agent (2013)

The beauty of the work done internationally by Alex Anthopoulos and his front office is that his impact will remain in Toronto for another decade or more (looking at you, Vladdy). Freddy Rodriguez represents another of the many young and athletic players added to the system over the past five seasons, and as he begins to physically mature at age 19, his skill set should soon come to the surface.

At the time of his signing in July of 2013, Baseball America’s Ben Badler had the following to say on Rodriguez, who was ranked 18th on their list of international prospects despite not cracking the top-30 on  

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“Rodriguez, 16, is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and has impressed some scouts for his advanced hitting approach from the left side of the plate. He flashes above-average speed and has a chance to stick in center field. Rodriguez trains at Carlos Guillen’s academy.”

While his positioning longterm is still a fluid topic, he’s yet to see much consistency in centre. Over his first two seasons of professional ball (84 games), Rodriguez has started just seven games in centre, with 21 starts in left field and 38 in right.

At the time of Rodriguez’s signing, several scouts made a similar note of saying that he had the potential to develop gap power later on in his career. While he did see his home runs jump from one to three in his second year of professional ball, the Blue Jays minor league staff will be looking for more hard-driven balls and extra-base hits, especially given his base-running potential.

In Rodriguez’s debut season in the Gulf Coast League (34 games), he managed a slash line of .239 / .306 / .336 with 10 walks and 30 strikeouts. In 50 games with Bluefield in the Appalachian League this past season, the lefty bat put up very similar numbers right across the board.

Re-establishing himself in centre would give Rodriguez the positional premium to keep his prospect value afloat, but if he’s going to begin his climb through the 20s, the plate potential needs to finally click. Entering his third season of professional ball at a later stage in his physical development I’m expecting to see Rodriguez drive the ball with a greater consistency, and hopefully, we’ll also see a matured plate approach. Once the bat comes around, he’ll also be able to use his athleticism more freely on the bases.