Endy Rodriguez has seen his offense struggle in Triple-A. The Pirates catching prospect is hitting for a .259/.342/.397 line, which is down from his numbers at every previous stage.
Last year, Rodriguez advanced to become the top prospect in the system, due to the potential he showed behind the plate, paired with the potential from the bat. He hit .323/.407/.590 across three levels, ending briefly with Indianapolis. That offense was more in line with his 2021 results, but has not returned this year.
The man that works with him daily has a theory: His defensive focus might be taking away from his work with the bat.
“I am proud of him, because he’s spent a lot of time on the defensive side,“ hitting coach Eric Munson said. “This is his first time really handling an older, Triple-A staff. Just learning game calling and scouting reports, he’s done a really good job and dove into that. I know he has been spending a lot of time doing that.“
Rodriguez is also proud of the defensive work he’s put in, and pointed out that he is learning daily.
“[When catching], I pay attention to a lot of the game, and the other guys,” Rodriguez said. “I am learning about how they play. When I catch, I pay attention to all positions on the field because the game teaches you a lot. You’ll always learn during the game.”
At the plate, Rodriguez has hit just under .250, with a .721 OPS through Sunday. This is 170 points lower than his career average. Munson also has a reason for some of that.
“Offensively, number one, he’s had a lot of really tough luck,“ Munson said. “He’s had a lot of hard hit balls that have been outs. He probably should have a few more homers that were the wrong time, in the wrong place. You can call an excuse, but it’s a real thing.”
Even with the down slide, Munson knows that Rodriguez will end the season right where he was expected.
“He’s one of those guys you just don’t really worry about,” Munson said. “You just make sure he’s doing his maintenance, which he always does. He’s a great worker. At some point he’s going to carry us for like a month. That’s just the type of hitter he is, has always been and will continue to be. Once he hits his hot streak, his numbers will all even out.”+ posts
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.