Defensive Focus Might Be Driving Bat Down For Endy Rodriguez

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.”

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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.

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Endy has been lacking power, but we are showing concern for a guy who only hit .296 in June.


I’m still not overly concerned, his K rate and BB rate are good.


What is up with Chandler? Are you seeing what I am? I have not seen him pitch in a game but I am judging him on box scores only. He has not been very good, actually he has been terrible. What is or are his issues? Is he mad because he is pitching and not hitting? With all his potential and the level he is at, he should be doing a more credible job.


I could be wrong but it looks like he’s working on control. Probably leaving way to many pitches over the middle of the plate. I don’t think he walked anyone his last game but gave up a lot of hits.
In his first 8 games he had 26 walks, his last 7 he only has 9 walks.

Last edited 2 months ago by melkel

Makes sense. He is still in the work on stuff stage and the stats are not a big deal in the scheme of things right now. I would rather him work on specific things in games at this stage and not in AA and AAA when he should be past working on controlling each of his pitches and working on sequencing those pitches to work batters over at that point.


Maybe it’s time to just let Endy and the rest of the kids play and develop on their own instead of messing with their heads all of the time? Coaches can help players but they can also hold them back or even ruin them with too much tinkering. Turn him loose and let him play the game he’s always been good at and see what happens.


You hit the nail on the head. One of the keys to being a good coach is knowing which of your players NOT to coach very much. Let them play.


If they promoted him today, he’d be a better hitter than our 2 current catchers. His time will come.


Austin Hedges was the top catching prospect in all of baseball and posted a +.900 OPS as a 22 yo in AAA before getting called up.

Endy will be fine but baseball is hard and humility warranted.


I’ve seen this said a few times but can’t confirm it. Here I see he was 130th and an edge case as a someday starter behind at least 5 catching prospects and this is the year of his callup:

130. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres
More: Video & Full Report
Hit: 20/40, Raw Power: 50/50, Game Power: 20/40, Run: 40/40, Field: 60/65, Throw: 70/70, FV: 50

Scouting Report: Hedges was ready defensively for the big league last year and probably would’ve been above average, too. He has some raw power and some feel to hit, but the bat speed isn’t great and his mechanics have always been a little awkward. You don’t have to hit much these days to be an everyday catcher, especially when you’re plus defensively. Hedges knows he just needs to make a little progress with the bat to become a big league starter and he’s focusing on it now more than ever.


Were you not paying attention a decade ago? I don’t know what to tell you dude.


Munson has ME convinced. Great interview.


He did skyrocket last year, he may just need time to catch his breath & let his talent catch-up

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