There were a lot of questions heading into Spring Training, but where Endy Rodriguez was going to begin the 2023 season wasn’t one of them.
Despite his breakout season last year that saw him go from High-A Greensboro all the way to Triple-A, it was made known during the offseason that their prized catching prospect would head back to Indianapolis to begin the season.
On a team that has really struggled offensively, it ended up being not too much a surprise that Rodriguez has been one of the more consistent producers in the lineup whenever he has gotten the opportunity.
A look at Endy Rodriguez's double from today. He's so good. Ideally he takes that changeup the other way, but not going to argue with the results. #Pirates pic.twitter.com/3n0lk5bbUg
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) March 10, 2023
Rodriguez reaches down and flips a changeup that’s trailing away from him down the first base line for a double. The Pirates broadcast team have obviously marveled at his performance so far this spring, especially for his hitting ability.
Through eight games played, Rodriguez has gone 5-for-14 with four runs scored and three doubles. He hasn’t drawn any walks, but has also struck out just twice (14.2 K%).
When comparing that to the ones that are competing for a spot on the major league club, and it isn’t a contest.
Even factoring in Austin Hedges‘ pair, the rest of the catchers (not including Henry Davis) have only picked up one more hit (six) than Endy has right now. Collectively they’ve gone 6-for-35 (.171) with a home run (Jason Delay), five runs scored, and a pair of doubles.
Hedges has also struck out seven times in 13 plate appearances. While he was brought in for his defense, and to be a mentor towards Rodriguez and Davis, that’s still not ideal of the guy who is going to be behind the plate the majority of the time to start the season.
The Pirates did set proper expectations heading into camp by saying Rodriguez would head back to Indianapolis to get more work in, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see him perform so well without seeing anyone else really step up to claim the backup job.
In reality, it may not matter too much who is the back if Hedges is playing the majority of the time, but at the same time, for a team that will be looking to start taking the next step, putting to rest even the chance of one of their best offensive players making the roster has to be a little bit of a blow.
Regardless, Rodriguez is putting together the kind of plate appearances that is proving last year was nowhere near any type of fluke.
Whenever he gets his opportunity, as we’ve seen in the games, Rodriguez is going to make the best of any chance he gets.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
It was a busy day yesterday. Here’s a look at everything that went on.
**Pirates Prospects Daily: Mark Mathias Provides Some Power, But Where’s The Fit? In case you missed it from yesterday.
**Pirates Reassign Quinn Priester to Minor League Camp Pirates are slowly getting down to their Opening Day roster with three weeks left in the spring.
**Pirates Roundtable: Which Player Has Stood Out to You Early in Spring Training? Everyone joins in the fun here, looking at players who have performed above expectations this spring
**Spring Training Recap: Tigers 10, Pirates 7
**Pirates Re-Sign RHP Travis MacGregor to a Minor League Deal Pirates bring back a high draft pick
**Pirates DVR: Tsung-Che Cheng WBC, Cody Bolton, Mike Burrows
**World Baseball Classic Recap: Strong Outing from Roansy Contreras Roansy Contreras did well in an exhibition game ahead of the WBC
Song of the Day
Road game against the Philadelphia Phillies today. 1:05 PM start
The fellas battling the Phils.
📻 KDKA 100.1 FM & 1020 AM | The PRN#LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/f4deUvwyzP
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 10, 2023
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.
1967, returning from Vietnam and WHITE RABBIT was their top hit. Check out these Vietnam Era songs. Vietnam Veterans will be nostalgic
Are they more apt to win a game with him catching or not? Or for that manner playing anywhere? I think that he’s proven enough to get that opportunity. If they would rather win another year, they can take that chance but I know projecting is always a gamble.
I’ve nearly convinced myself that Rndy Rodriguez is underrated.
Boy there are a lot of factors that say Swaggerty could be given a fair shot to go north and he has capitalized on them. Nobody else on the depth chart projects as a starting CF. Take away his injuries and his progression has been solid. If we go north today I take him and play him.
Brubaker, Swaggerty, and Cruz all playing well today, it is actually a good game for the Pirates, despite the score.
Yeah, I came here to post the same–for such a lopsided score, I’m pretty happy reading the box score given the HR by Cruz, 2 hits by Castro, another hit by Gonzales, and especially the 2 hits including a HR from Swaggerty.
How many times has Cruz struck out in ST?
two I believe
Bru looked good today, last outing he faced just one big leaguer and he was a second year player, better line up today. His sinker was awesome today.
Ball was carrying a lot today. Even the Phillies broadcast team was surprised that was a home run. The amount of times that’s actually a home run is so low, I’m not even concerned about it.
+1 to Swaggerty for not sliding into first base
To begin with, I recall Kevin Newman hitting a ‘gazillion’ in spring but below the Mendoza-line during the regular season, so a great spring is no guarantee that Rodrigues will continue at that pace in the regular season. I also remember Gregory Polanco! Need I say more about that? What’s most important, is the year of control that would be lost if he starts the season in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are not the Yankees. If Rodriguez is as good as it now seems, waiting one or two months will yield another year in which to decide (quibble?) over whether to sign, trade, or whatever. This team, though obviously improved, is not a serious contender, though something freakish could occur. Regardless, Rodriguez absence for a short time won’t matter. The Pirates sending Rodriguez to Indianapolis to start the season is the correct move, given the circumstances. Let’s take a breath and be a little more patient.
In principle I agree. I would frame it, though, as what would be the best learning situation. A catcher mentor plus a catching coach (Kendall) might make MLB a great place to learn. IDK.
This ignores the new rules that 1) get us a draft pick if he is top 3 ROY and has past the year service requirements and 2) Gives him the year anyway if he finishes top 2 ROY after he comes up later. He could actually do that. Bring him up in July and end up having a super two anyway. That’s how it likely goes for hapl as pirates front office.
Endy is the poster boy for trying to take advantage of the new CBA.
Best way to take advantage of that rule is signing the kid to an extension, taking away the whole service time manipulation out of the equation. But I honestly think that Endy could benefit from more reps in AAA.
When any player has success at three levels in one season I really don’t see much of a chance that it was a fluke. Though Endy with his hitting ability and versatility position wise gives the Pirates a better chance of winning games this management team wants us to believe he and the Pirates are better off with him going back to Indy for half a season. They’re basically following the same game plan that led to 2 straight 100 loss seasons. The one good thing about him going to Endy is getting him away from Haines and Shelton.
I was just thinking about that. When he comes up, wear ear plugs any time he beside the hitting coach.
what exactly do we win if he starts on opening day and wins the 2023 ROY?
Top 3 ROY gets a draft pick. AND if he comes in 2nd or 1st after being sent down for half a year he gets awarded the year service time ANYWAY. Which with his ability to go on a tear isn’t impossible. He is projected for 4 war 80th percentile by FanGraphs.
Gee, that’s a tough one. Let me think for a second. Oh yes, how about some baseball games.
what exactly do you win by sending a player who is most likely one of the fourth or fifth best players on your major league roster back to the minors? Nutting is the only one who wins on that move.
No- every owner in the league makes that move. Do you understand baseball rules? Would you rather have him now, on a team that has no chance of getting to the playoffs, or WAIT 30 games, bring him up and get him for an ENTIRE extra year when we ARE GOOD…… you’d be the only person making the move you are suggesting
I like the Atlanta Braves moves. After a year or so, tie up your young prospects that look very good. You keep the players you want for less than trying to sign them during their free agent yrs. But, this organization will not take that chance. They will only take absolutes.
No- not every owner in the league makes that move or are you implying every team has no chance to make the playoffs.
New rules could cost us the year anyway. The CBA allows for that chance if he comes in 2nd in ROY.
I have no recommendation to make here. Becoming a good MLB catcher is not easy or simple. This must be a priority. I think Kendall is still on the staff, so the question is where Endy’s development will be best done is not obvious to me.
Does anyone know if Endy or Davis got any in game time at Catcher this ST? I remember Endy playing 1st (wtf) & Hank DH’ing, but don’t remember seeing them at Catcher, which if true, seems like a missed opportunity
Endy has caught a lot, but has only started 1 game at 1st. He has been a late game replacement at catcher in several games. He has caught much more than Davis who only caught 2-3 games as a late inning replacement.
Endy has played there quite a bit this spring. Davis did some, but mostly as a late game replacement so it wasn’t always easy to notice.
Endy has caught some.
Some Italy vs. Chinese Taipei – 3/10/2023