Randy Rodriguez, RHP
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2017
LAST LEVEL: Low-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #8 Relief Pitcher
Performance: After a couple of lackluster first couple of seasons in the DSL and Rookie levels, and a pandemic-missed season, Randy Rodriguez had a breakthrough season in his first full year of work. Staying healthy all year, Rodriguez had a 1.74 ERA with 101 strikeouts in just 62.0 innings.
The 21-year old got more effective as the season reached its end, not allowing any runs in the final two months of the season, with just 14 hits and five walks allow in 28.1 innings, and 50 strikeouts. Despite his performance, Rodriguez was used mostly in middle relief and not as closer, but he did well enough to be added to the 40-man roster last winter to be protected from the as-yet-happened Rule 5 Draft.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Spin is Rodriguez’s strength. He has a fastball in the mid-90’s and a low-80’s slider that has a ton of movement. The movement on both is the reason that Rodriguez had such strikeout numbers in San Jose. Rodriguez also has a mid-80’s changeup that is still developing, the truth is that he hasn’t needed it much yet.
Control and command remain areas of concern for Rodriguez, but his performance in San Jose was a big improvement over his 2019 in the ACL, reducing his BB/9 from 5.8 to 3.3. It’ll remain to be seen whether that was because of aggressive hitters, as he faces better hitters going forward, but it’s still an area of concern.
2022 Outlook: This will be an intriguing question. Normally, of course, High-A would be next. But the players the Giants added to their 40-man roster in November 2020 all got pushed up to Triple-A, with early season MLB debuts, and two of them, Camilo Doval and Kervin Castro, being successful in fall call-ups. It would not be unheard of to see the same from Rodriguez, although the lockout could affect him now that he’s on the 40.
Future Profile: Rodriguez’s velocity isn’t quite high enough to be on a surefire closer track, but his control is slightly better than some who are. That’s his possible ceiling, but he’s more likely to be a setup reliever as he progresses.