There is growing momentum for a trade to transpire between Tampa Bay and the Rockies involving right-hander Jason Hammels. The Rays heavily scouted the Rockies this past week, keeping a close eye on Double-A starter Aneury Rodriguez.
First thing you notice about Rodriguez is his stature. He's a 6'3" and slender. He's also young and advanced for his age as a 21-year-old in Double-A. As for stuff an arsenal, here's what a Rocky Mountain News story said about him in 2006:
Rodriguez throws an 89-90 mph fastball and on a few occasions has touched 93 mph. His repertoire also includes a curveball and changeup. Linton said a priority with Rodriguez has been getting him to use his height to his advantage and deliver the ball on a good downhill angle.
I would expect that his velocity has clicked up a few ticks, especially given what John Sickels said:
Note: His fastball velocity is closer to 92-93 nowadays than the 89-90 mentioned above.
8) Aneury Rodriguez, RHP, Grade C+: What am I missing here? Why don’t other people like him? He’s young, has a live arm, and has pitched well.
In three seasons, Rodriguez has shown the ability to strike hitters out while avoiding walks and homeruns. FIPs of 3.15, 3.86, and 3.38. He seems like a quality pitcher, and one I wouldn't mind having in Montgomery. Rodriguez also fits the bill of what the Rays seem to accomplish with a trade. A) Clearing a logjam, B) replenishing a future talent wave.
More on Rodriguez
Last year, Rodriguez started 27 games and threw 156.1 innings for High-A Modesto of the hitter-friendly California League. He had a 3.74 ERA, allowed less than a hit an inning, and struck out 21.4% of the batters he faced.
Of all the pitchers who threw at least 90 innings in that league last season, only three had a higher strikeout percentage. The ability to strike batters out -- something Rodriguez has consistently done well throughout his minor league career -- is one of the best ways to gauge how legit a prospect is.
Best Case Outcome - No. 4 starter or possible set up man...his stuff could play up if moved to the bullpen
More Likely Outcome - moved to the bullpen and becomes a 4th or 5th reliever type
The knock on Rodriguez seems to be his lack of a change-up. James Shields and Xavier Hernandez have known to have a cure for that ailment. Even if he turns into Jason Hammel part two, we're talking a good deal here. It's not so much that Hammel is a bad pitcher or one without use, instead it's that on this current staff his use is less than mostly everyone else. In two or three years, who knows how the staff will look, and that's the whole purpose of having sustainable talent waves set in place well ahead of the fact.