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Orioles No.2 Prospect Grayson Rodriguez RHP | Delmarva Shorebirds: A Full | 21 Years Old | Bats: L | Throws: R | 6’5″ | 220 lbs. | ETA: 2022
Grayson Rodriguez is a 6’5 220-pound right-handed pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles who was taken in the 1st round of the 2018 MLB Draft as the 11th pick overall out of Central Heights high school in Nacogdoches, TX (pronounced Nack ah dough chess). The power righty has had an impressive start to his minor league career producing a 1.40 ERA in 2018 over 19.1 innings after signing for a $4,300,00 bonus. He followed up his professional debut in 2019 by posting a 2.68 ERA in 94 innings and struck out 129 batters while walking 36 for a 12.4 k/9 and 3.4 bb/9. The Orioles did give the flame throwing Texan extra rest throughout the minor league season that year sometimes only pitching once a week to limit his pitch count. Rodriguez has a large build and possess a mid-90s fastball to go along with upper 70s curveball, mid 80s slider and has added a changeup to his pitch mix and is not afraid to pitch batters inside. He could be a key piece of Baltimore’s rebuild as he has a top of the rotation ceiling and accumulate a lot of innings and strikeouts between his frame and deceptive pitch mix. He has been working hard during the offseason and looks as though he’s gotten a bit leaner since the 2019.
Grayson Rodriguez’s fastball hits 93-96 mph touching 97 on the mound and produces late life on the way to the plate. He is not afraid to pitch to the inside and can produce weak contact between his life and location. When throwing his fastball, his arm motion appears to be more fluid showing less drag than when throwing his off-speed pitches.
The Texas fireballer’s curveball is an impressive pitch with 12/6 action that hits 74-78 miles per hour and is a wipeout pitch as there is plenty of deception to it as it breaks upwards then suddenly drops down. He can use it to get batters to swing over it to get ahead in the count as well as use it as a strikeout pitch. He has made a lot of progress with the development of the pitch as early on in his professional career it lacked a bit of depth compared to what it is now.
The slider has a big hook to it with bite and can hit mid 80s and hits as high as 86 miles per hour for velocity. It runs inward batters at times, as if it is coming at them, then breaks away from them. With his combination of his curve and slider, Rodriguez’s breaking pitches will easily fool a lot of batters between depth and velocity difference from his fastball.
His changeup is still a developing pitch and relatively new to him and has not thrown it much in the pros, but it looks to be a plus offering once it is finished. It has screwball type action, and it will be interesting to see how he uses it moving forward. Despite not thrown it much yet to date, as stated earlier, it could end up one of his better pitches in his repertoire.
Mechanics | Control: 40/50
The former first round pick pitches from a mid-3/4s arm slot and has a bit of hesitation as he gets into his delivery. While he does appear to have some resistance and arm drag with his breaking pitches, the more inning he logs under his belt, he should be able to fix that. Presently, it is as though he is pitching with more effort when throwing his off-speed stuff. His feet are almost at an angle with the rubber, as only his right heel is touching it, almost like he’s pitching halfway out of the stretch. He brings up his left leg just over his belt and follows through with his glove hitting his armpit. Out of the stretch, Rodriguez’s mechanics work quicker and he does a good job of repeating mechanics as well. However, he does not bring his leg up as much compared to his normal delivery. His pitches can get away from him at times as his release point is not as consistent as it could be, but with his break on his pitches and velocity difference, he is able fool batters and keep his walk rate in a decent enough place. It is worth noting that during his 2019 season, Rodriguez was much better against right-handed hitters as he had a 1.79 ERA against them and a 4.28 ERA against left-handed hitters.
Grayson Rodriguez has the pitch repertoire and stuff that give him a ceiling of a top of the rotation pitcher for Baltimore. With his build and pitch mix, he should eat a lot of innings in the MLB and accumulate a lot of strikeouts. All his pitches grade out to be above average or better for future. While his command is still developing, as some breaking pitches do have a lot of bite and can sometimes break out of the strike zone, he will learn how to adjust, and still grade out as Major League average. The Orioles have a bright future ahead of them with a rotation that boasts Rodriguez, John Means and DL Hall.