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Pirates Prospect Player of the Week: Endy Rodriguez

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Endy Rodriguez was our Player of the Week during the final full week in July, and then he won the Player of the Month award for July. He is now the Pirates Prospects Player of the Week for the week of August 22-28, and he has a chance to pull off the Player of the Week/Month award combo again this month. Rodriguez hit .375/.444/.875 this past week in 27 plate appearances, with three doubles, three homers and three walks. For good measure, he added seven runs scored and nine RBIs.

Rodriguez was on a roll right before he joined Altoona, and he hasn’t seen any slowing down since he started facing upper level competition for the first time three weeks ago. Even with a slow month of April, he had a .936 OPS in 88 games with Greensboro. Since moving to Double-A, he has posted a .373/.448/.746 slash line in 15 games. He has 30 doubles and 21 homers this season in 103 games. Rodriguez said during Spring Training that his goal for the season was to make it to Altoona. It’s possible that we see him make it higher before the season ends. Altoona finishes off their season ten days before the season ends in Indianapolis, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some players make the jump to Triple-A for those final games.

The Pirates have been using Rodriguez a lot more often in the catcher spot recently. We will see if that changes once Henry Davis rejoins Altoona. Rodriguez had caught 11 of his 15 games in Altoona, with three starts at DH and one at second base. He was at second base for four of his last 11 games with Greensboro. The Pirates were moving him around a lot in April when he was struggling, but he hasn’t played first base since that first month, and his last turn in left field was on July 1st. He’s slowly turned into a full-time catcher, but with Davis around, getting him some turns at second base in addition to both of them playing DH, wouldn’t be the worst idea. You’re going to want both of them in the lineup regularly. Rodriguez was seeing those roles because of his athleticism, along with the plethora of catcher options at Greensboro to start the year.

I wouldn’t go for the full utility role like before, since he didn’t do well in that role earlier in the year. However, his timeline to the majors seems to be on a quicker path, so you want him to be able to handle wherever they play him. Limiting his roles would give him more time to concentrate on those positions. Tim Williams just recently wrote an article where he said Rodriguez was his top prospect in the system. While I’m not at that point yet, I think he’s an easy top 100 prospect in baseball, so he’s not far off of that top spot for me.

TRIPLE-A: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

Player of the Week: Cal Mitchell .421/.455/.737, 1 HR, 1 SB, 22 PA

Analysis: Cal Mitchell has been the best hitter overall at Indianapolis this season, which didn’t translate right away to the majors, though I expect him to see more big league time this year. He put up a 1.191 OPS in 22 PAs this past week, collecting a double, triple and homer. The 23-year-old has a .918 OPS in 61 games with Indianapolis this year. His .335 average is the second highest in the International League for all batters with 250+ PAs. Jared Oliva didn’t see much time last week, but he went 5-for-10 with two walks and a homer, leading to a 1.339 OPS. Mason Martin went 5-for-15 with three doubles and four walks, giving him a 1.007 OPS in 19 PAs. Jack Suwinski was struggling badly in Indianapolis until he had back-to-back strong games to end his week with a .976 OPS in 15 PAs. Despite a lot average and awful strikeout rates for the month, he earned a trip back to Pittsburgh. Kevin Padlo earned a DFA with his .967 OPS in 14 PAs.

On the pitching side, Johan Oviedo tossed 3.2 scoreless innings in his start, with three hits, a walk and four strikeouts. He has allowed one run in 11.1 innings since joining Indianapolis. John O’Reilly contributed 4.1 scoreless last week. In his last six appearances, he has pitched 7.2 scoreless on two hits and one walk. Osvaldo Bido had the best week on the staff in his one start and one relief appearance, allowing one run on five hits and five walks in ten innings. August has been his best month this year, with a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings, with 22 strikeouts and his lowest walk rate. Miguel Yajure allowed one run over five innings and he struck out seven batters. Jerad Eickhoff also allowed one run over five innings in his start.

DOUBLE-A: ALTOONA CURVE

Player of the Week: Endy Rodriguez .375/.444/.875, 3 HR, 0 SB, 27 PA

Analysis: Besides Endy Rodriguez, Altoona got strong offense from Jared Triolo, who put up a 1.153 OPS in 27 PAs. He had three doubles, a triple and a homer. After a very slow start with the power numbers this year, he now has 21 doubles, five triples and nine homers, to go along with 63 walks and 24 steals. Blake Sabol went 7-for-20 with two doubles and a homer, leading to a .964 OPS. He has a .908 OPS in 21 games this month. Malcom Nunez went 6-for-21 with a double and two homers. Since joining Altoona, he has an .884 OPS in 14 games. The pitching side was slim pickings. Quinn Priester allowed two earned runs over two starts, though he gave up a total of seven runs on 12 hits in 8.1 innings, so even though his 2.16 ERA qualified here, it wasn’t a great week. Tahnaj Thomas faced the minimum over three innings, with three strikeouts. He has a 1.65 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 32.2 innings since June 1st.

HIGH-A: GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

Player of the Week: Jared Jones  0.00 ERA,  7:5 K/BB,  8.2 IP

Analysis: Jared Jones made two starts this week and threw 8.2 innings without an earned run (one unearned run). He did a great job of working around trouble, as he gave up five walks and seven hits, including five doubles. His ERA is nearly identical home and away, with a 4.60 ERA in Greensboro and 4.67 on the road. He has 132 strikeouts in 114.2 innings. Ricky DeVito tossed four shutout innings in his start, with four hits, one walk and four strikeouts. He has thrown shutout ball in each of his last three outings. Matt Eckelman is toiling away at Greensboro, giving up one run over five innings last week.

On the hitting side, Eli Wilson got some Greensboro Player of the Week support with his 1.135 OPS in 23 PAs, collecting seven hits, including a double and two homers. He has an .866 OPS in August. Ernny Ordonez went 5-for-16 with a double and two homers, giving him 14 home runs on the season. Mike Jarvis put up a .992 OPS in 21 PAs, with two homers and six stolen bases. Yoyner Fajardo had eight singles and five walks last week, leading to a .963 OPS. Last week’s Player of the Week overall was Francisco Acuna, who got overshadowed this week by some high offense on the road for Greensboro. He had a .915 OPS in 17 PAs.  Despite collecting just three hits, picking up a double, triple and five walks helped Hudson Head to reach on .800 OPS minimum on the nose.

LOW-A: BRADENTON MARAUDERS

Player of the Week: Bubba Chandler 0.00 ERA,  5:2 K/BB,  5.0 IP   .182/.308/.455, 1 HR, 1 SB, 13 PA

Analysis: Bubba Chandler got the top spot due to his pitching performance, but hitting his first Low-A home run didn’t hurt. He tossed five no-hit innings with two walks and five strikeouts, while putting up a .762 OPS. The 19-year-old isn’t dominating full-season ball like he did the FCL, but he has looked very good on the mound at times. He has 3.32 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21.2 innings since being promoted. He has a .574 OPS in 88 plate appearances, with a decent walk rate and a lot of strikeouts. Po-Yu Chen avoided the one bad inning that has killed him in a lot of his starts this year. He went five shutout innings on two hits, two walks and four strikeouts. He has seven starts of shutout ball this year and seven starts with 4-5 runs allowed. Darvin Garcia allowed one run over 4.2 innings on four hits and four walks. Anthony Solometo gave up one runs on one hit and two walks in four innings. He has a 3.05 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 38.1 innings with Bradenton.

On the hitting side, Tsung-Che Cheng had another strong week, batting .444/.600/.500 in 25 PAs, with three stolen bases. He had eight hits and seven walks in six games. He has a 1.158 OPS in 24 games in August. Tres Gonzalez had a big week, going 8-for-19 with a double, triple, two stolen bases and a 1.055 OPS in 21 PAs. Sergio Campana powered his way here with two homers, leading to an .894 OPS in 17 PAs.

John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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