Endy Rodriguez: Athleticism Showing With On Fly Learning At Second

The Pittsburgh Pirates have put an emphasis on creating ‘positional flexibility’ throughout the system this year.

One of the player’s that come to mind immediately is Endy Rodriguez, whose athleticism has allowed him to move from behind the plate to multiple positions last year, including first base and left field.

Entering 2022 with Greensboro, Rodriguez looked to add another position to his repertoire: Second base.

“I’m trying to learn from my teammates who have played the position before,” Rodriguez told Pirates Prospects through a translator. “I’m trying to learn the little movement and set my feet in the right position and be in good position to catch the ball.”

Looking at the little bit of video available of Rodriguez at second base, you immediately see what he was talking about getting his feet set in the right position. His athleticism lets chase down the ball and get squared to it, that way he can make a strong throw.

You get a little bit of a mix of everything from Rodriguez in the video, including starting a double play, turning and throwing to first to complete one, and ranging to the other side of the bag and throwing a ball off-balance. While it one-hopped, he put it in front of first baseman Matt Gorski, who missed the ball and was given an error on the play.

On the season, Rodriguez has played 54 innings, and in 30 total chances has committed just two errors. He’s also been a part in four double plays, a couple of which are shown in the video.

Rodriguez said that of all of the positions he is currently playing, second base is the one he enjoys the most.

“Compared to catching, it’s easier to see the ball and make the routine play,” Rodriguez said of playing second base. “In the outfield, you don’t really know off the bat where the ball is going to go, whether it’s going to slice right or left.”

As a former catcher, it’s probably not a surprise he likes the position that keeps him involved in the game more.

“In the infield, you see the ball hit in the dirt, and I’m able to know where the ball is going to go, so I can set up my feet and be in a good position to catch the ball and make the play,” said Rodriguez.

With Henry Davis now in Altoona, Rodriguez’s focus will shift more back to catcher. In the limited time he spent at second base, he boosted the sentiment around the organization that he could handle the second base position.

PROSPECT WATCH

DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN

PIRATES DISCUSSION

Most Voted Comments

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
29 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Fluharty

As long as every player has a primary position where they get most of their time, having them spend a handful of games at another one isn’t going to do them any harm, and it’s certainly better than having to learn a brand new position at the major league level.

NMR

I absolutely LOVE Endy Rodriguez, but that ain’t even close to what a big league second baseman looks like.

jon6er

Same here, love Endy but ‘fluid’ isn’t a word that describes any of those plays.

Stephen B

Raw doesn’t begin to describe it.

If the experiment is a cover to get his and Abrahan’s bats (oh, and Eli’s, if that’s still a thing) into the lineup every day, I guess it’s no harm. They’d be sitting or DHing, might as well have them engaged. But seriously, starting at AA they need to do away with this foolishness.

NMR

When I think “raw” I think Liover Peguero. Nobody doubts the hands and feet, he’s just gotta gain the consistency of moving them in the right places at the right times.

Clean up Endy’s actions all you want and he still looks like he’s moving with cinder blocks on his feet compared to a big league middle infielder.

I’m with you though, and I especially don’t get it with Endy who nearly every source outside of the org lauds specifically for his defensive potential at catcher.

patrick_kelly

I generally don’t like moving top guys around, but in Endy’s case and the glut of C prospects ahead of him, they have to find a way to get all those bats in the lineup. If Davis, Sabol, Bins, Abrahan, Eli, and/or Endy keep doing what they are doing with the bat, you have to find a way to get them all in the lineup. If Davis and Bins (I have hope) are the primary catchers for a season or so, the other guys won’t be far behind and need some sort of secondary position. Just think about the thump if Davis, Sabol, and Endy are all somehow in the lineup! 1B, DH, 2B, and RF shouldn’t be off the table for the latter 2 if they show an aptitude at the position. I’d like to see Endy get more than 54 innings at the position before saying he doesn’t have the skills for 2b. Will he stick there, probably not. But worth seeing if he can play it. I will admit some of the throws to 1b were rough and the footwork is stiff. But he’s an athletic guy that I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to till he proves otherwise.

Last edited 1 month ago by patrick_kelly
NMR

I know MLBPA is a Union, but they do not have seniority rules.

Is there any indication than Hank Davis would be a better defensive catcher than Endy Rodriguez?

And even if he were, why in the world would you devalue Endy by forcing him into a marginal defensive role?

Again, it is perfectly legal under the rules of Major League Baseball to acquire players outside your organization!

If more than one of those dudes you mention end up developing to be an above average bat with an average or better glove, first you go play the damn lottery, then you trade one for a haul like a competent big league organization and make your club better.

Did the Dodgers force Keibert Ruiz off position in order to “get his bat in the lineup”? No. They used him as the headliner for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.

Did the Cardinals force Carson Kelly off position in order to “get his bat in the lineup”? No. They used him as the headliner for Paul Goldschmidt.

But hey, what do those two organizations know that the wonderful Pittsburgh Pirates don’t.

AdministrativeSky236

Competent catchers who can hit are very valuable, so I agree. If we have more players than we know what to do with and there’s no reasonable way to work them in then we go add more quality arms because we all know we can never have enough

jedeweese
skliesen

Not necessarily a fan of making top prospects learn multiple positions, but Endy looks like an exception to the rule. He certainly has the athleticism to play all over, and he appears to enjoy it, too.

As long as this doesn’t impede the development of his bat, keep moving him around to add value to his game.

NMR

The dogma driving the preference of playing multiple positions marginally as opposed to one position well is absolutely remarkable to me.

It isn’t only the Pirates, either. I coincidentally just read this blurb on Luis Arraez this morning:

“I also think they’re hamstringing his defensive development; he’s not a Gold Glove type, and his usage is preventing him from getting experience at one position. Pick a position, leave him there, and hit him first or second for the next five years. ”

In an era where everything is metric’d out, doesn’t it seem odd that we’ve adopted this preference of “positional flexibility” on complete faith?

The Pirates aren’t gonna win by following the leader. How silly will we feel if The Next Big Thing is actually just playing guys where they actually belong.

Last edited 1 month ago by NMR
PirateRican21

Stephen B

So mild counterpoint is with the decrease in balls in play, you can maaaaybe justify moving playable bats around to get as many of them in the lineup at once, since the penalty for sub-optimal defense keeps diminishing. The Twins are exactly the kind of team that needs to figure out ways to get their bats in the lineup, by hook or by crook. Polanco, Urshela, Correa, Arraez and Miranda can’t all play the infield at the same time, and that’s before you account for Sano. They got themselves into this mess, but I guess better that mess than having guys at set positions who can’t hit.

Of course, then, every idea can be taken to the point of absurdity. I present to you the Philadelphia Phillies’ outfield.

NMR

Yeah I hear you, balls in play along with “shifts” are the complimentary dogma for which nobody again ever bothers to support with any sort of evidence.

Stephen B

I’m going out on a limb and assuming that you’re not tossing aside the very real benefits of shifting (against lefties) and the very real decline in balls in play, but rather questioning using them to support an organizational strategy to de-emphasize individual players’ defensive excellence for the sake of positional flexibility.

And if so I agree with you.

I suspect as a catch-all strategy it’s not really all that productive. Bae can play 2B and CF, fine. Cruz likely having to move down the defensive spectrum so get him some time in the OF? On board. But with the intent to give every player positional flexibility? What’s the point, exactly? Is the franchise so stocked full of all stars that we won’t be able to fit your 45 bat in at your desired position? Give me a break.

That said, in isolated cases, you do what you have to do, and you play the odds. Mike Moustakas at 2B playing behind a staff that generated the fewest batted ball events in the National League? I mean, if that’s what it takes to get his 35 HR in the lineup every day (ignore for a minute the fact that they moved him to accommodate Travis Shaw, who was good until he was very very bad). It’s a progressive organization that was an eyelash from the World Series the year before, not a franchise trying to cheap-and-gimmick its way out of having to pay for quality at scarce positions.

So there, I not only support its limited use, I’m happy when it occurs. There’s still some “what do we have to lose” out there, which in itself is a nice thought that we haven’t calculated it all into a state of passivity.

NMR

BINGO!

roberto

You raise a good point. What will be the Bucs’ competitive advantage going forward? I think defense, but would like to hear other perspectives.

AdministrativeSky236

From what I have noticed, we are kinda imitating the Rays with the ultra flexible approach. Having every fielder playing multiple positions so they can make the lineup best suited to beating the opposing pitcher. Crowe was the first of multiple inning relievers also built for high leverage situations. What we don’t know, though, is if this the planned approach or just a result of the less than optimal roster construction that we began the year with. Time will tell once we have more talent at the MLB level

NMR

This is my overarching critique of the entire Cherington Era.

If you pay attention to clubs around the league, then the reality in front of this is that Cherington is leading nothing more than a milquetoast rebuild of trends from like five years ago. Nothing new, nothing “innovative”.

He’s trying the Huntington method, but better. Maybe that works.

ArkyWags

It’s the same. But different! Jest aside I think your point above about Endy’s catching is interesting. This org seems to have decided Hank is the catcher of the future and that Endy, while not a complete afterthought, is clearly the one who will have to learn other positions to get his bat in the lineup. To a degree, I get it: they just picked Davis and while his defense is a bit rough, he has some good defensive tools and it’s far too early to pull the plug on Tank as a catcher.

Still, Endy sounds better right now. And since they’re not at the same level, I think he should get more time there. And none of this second base nonsense. If catchers shift off the position, it’s to the corners. Not to the middle. For comedy sake, we could have a Cruz/Endy keystone combo!

NMR

You laugh, but are they not explicitly planning for that potential? Along with Hank Davis behind the plate?

May as well extend Vogelbach and throw him in CF.

roibert.kasperski

Will need somewhere for him to be on the field if Davis is the real deal at catcher. Would be great to have his bat and Davis’s bat in the lineup at the same time.The same rationale is behind Cruz and the outfield. There is Peguero right behind him too. Would be great to have both of their bats in the lineup at the same time as Davis and Rodriquez too. Of course that is assuming all 4 end up in the Show and all 4 keep hitting.

Last edited 1 month ago by roibert.kasperski
NMR

Accepted mediocrity.

It is legal within the rules of Major League Baseball to acquire players outside of your organization. Our competitors even do it!

Instead of fielding a club of shitty defenders in order to “get their bats in the lineup”, one may choose to develop actual good baseball players and worry about lineup construction when it actually matters.

roibert.kasperski

Not saying they have to force a player to play where they can not play good defense. Saying that if they can find alternate positions that they can play good defense at in the minors as opposed to the majors when they 2 guys for one position and instead of trading them they can play another position without leaning on the fly in the Show, so much the better. A trade could still be the better option but seeing if they can play 2 places well adds options and may enhance trade value if that is the route chosen

NMR

Look brother, I get it! But this only makes sense to me if we’re talking about 2B/3B, 1B/3B, COF. ROUGHLY equivalent moves on the defensive spectrum.

Taking a good defensive C, SS, or CF and making him a marginal defender at a far lower position is wasting a ton of value, and that’s not something this organization can survive doing.

roberto

Well said. Especially for a catcher (who really shouldn’t catch every day), being able to play another position adds considerable value.

NMR

There’s now a DH in both leagues.

If one catcher’s bat is good enough to force them into shitty defense on their off days, then it’s sure as hell good enough to DH.

joebaseball

Put Cruz at First Base with that length.

AdministrativeSky236

Certainly doesn’t look the smoothest out there, but it is easy to underestimate how tough it must be for a kid to be learning a new position on the fly at the professional level. I am very excited for Endy, he could end up being a top 3 prospect for us in a year or two in my opinion

Menu
29
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x