Friday, January 25, 2013

Highlighting top Reds prospects in 2013: Henry Rodriguez

by: Jon Davis
Staff Writer

#19 Henry Rodriguez 2B
@HenryRod39 on Twitter

Here at No. 19 we find another non-drafted free agent signing out of Venezuela. In March of 2007, the Reds signed Henry Rodriguez, 5-foot-10, 170-pound switch hitting middle infielder. In 2010 and 2011, he combined to hit .312, with a .353 on base, 27 homers and 63 steals. In 2012 he took a small step back, he still hit well at Double A but struggled when he was called up to Triple A, though at least part of his struggles were due to a hand injury. Overall he hit .282 with a .310 on base last season in the minors. During his September call up he hit .214 in a handful of at bats.

Rodriguez is still only 22-years old and remains an intriguing prospect. He is a good hitter from both sides of the plate, who can spray the ball anywhere from line to line with a little bit of pop. He is a good runner that can take an extra base when the opportunity comes around and will steal some bases. He is not a great defender at any one position, but does show great flexibility with the ability of playing average defense from second to third. There are not any big question marks with him just a few small things, that could mean the difference between a career as a solid top of the order regular and being a good utility infielder. First is plate discipline he does not walk very much, only 77 times in nearly 1,500 plate appearances since 2010. He is up there to hit so that likely isn't going to change too much, but on the positive with most free swingers they strike out a lot. However Rodriguez does not strike out that much. If he could be a little more patient he could draw more walks. Then, pair that with a few less K's and he could be one of those guys who walks more than he strikes out on a yearly basis. With those improvements in the batters box, as well as tightening up his defense, he could turn into a good big league starter.

With the addition of Jason Donald to the 2013 Reds bench, I believe that pushes Henry Rodriguez into starting the year with the Louisville Bats. It looked like he was in position to make the Reds team this year as a bench player. Now given his struggles at Triple A last year this is probably the best thing for him long term, it gives him more time to put everything together. He is most likely the first in line should Cincinnati need infield help this year, but barring that we will probably hear from him this September and then in 2014.

A look back on the previous prospect posts...
No. 1 - Billy Hamilton
No. 2 - Robert Stephenson
No. 3 - Tony Cingrani
No. 4 - Daniel Corcino
No. 5 - Nick Travieso
No. 6 - Jesse Winker
No. 7 - Tanner Rahier
No. 8 - Kyle Lotzkar
No. 9 - Yorman Rodriguez
No. 10 - Ismael Guillon
No. 11 - Ryan LaMarre
No. 12 - Amir Garrett
No. 13 - Dan Langfield
No. 14 - David Vidal
No. 15 - Neftali Soto
No. 16 - Donald Lutz
No. 17 - Jeff Gelalich
No. 18 - Tucker Barnhart

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