Cincinnati Reds in Review: OF Yorman Rodriguez

The only remaining position player to not have his season reviewed for the Cincinnati Reds has been Yorman Rodriguez, and now is his time.

While Rodriguez’s contributions this season did not constitute of much at all, the highly touted Venezuelan prospect will be on the scene for years to come.

Yorman Rodriguez – Outfielder

Signed as an amateur free agent at the ripe age of 16 out of Ocumare de la Costa, Aragua, Venezuela, Rodriguez has been a long-term project that may finally be ready to reach the surface.

After annihilating rookie ball in his short time spent there in 2010 (he hit .339/.361/.456), Rodriguez would scuffle a bit with both Dayton and Bakersfield before finally be promoted up to Pensacola midway through 2013. From that point, his numbers have actually increased, a sure sign that he is getting the hang of the professional game.

For the first time in his young career, he spent the entire season in one place (until coming up with the Reds, obviously), as 2014 saw him play everyday for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos down at Double-A. He would hit .262/.331/.389, with nine home runs and 40 runs driven in. In addition, he’d swipe a dozen bags, stroke 20 doubles, and showcase off his cannon of an arm in center and right field.

As the season wore on and it became all the more evident Jay Bruce was not going to get any better by continuing to play on his bad knee, it was puzzling as to why Rodriguez did not get more of a look, despite never having even taken a swing at the Triple-A level. He would make seven starts on the year (three in right, two in center, and two in left), over the span of 24 days that he was up with the club.

Just because Rodriguez has been with the club since 2009 and is now just reaching the big leagues is in no way a deterrent. Due to his initial youth at the time of his signing, Rodriguez is just now hitting his stride. Most ballplayers would have just gotten done with their initial rookie year of professional ball in general (assuming they came out of college after all four years), but Yorman already has major league experience.

Rodriguez’s Stat Line:

.222/.276/.222, 27 AB, 6 H, 2 RBI, 1 BB-12 K, -0.2 WAR, 0.3 WPA+

Top Yorman Rodriguez Moment:

Trailing 9-1 in the ninth inning of a game–virtually no one involved with will remember–Yorman Rodriguez had the best moment of the season, and maybe his baseball life.

On the first pitch he ever saw as a big league batter, he knocked a single into centerfield off Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Rob Wooten. Later in the inning, he’d make the trek home as he scored on a RBI single off the bat of Ryan Ludwick, cutting the deficit to 9-2.

Despite the blowout and lack of attention paid to this game, September 14, 2014, will always be the day of Yorman Rodriguez’s first major league hit.

Low Point of the Season for Yorman Rodriguez:

Getting to develop all season long at Double-A, just to be called up to the major leagues in September with basically no strings attached, Rodriguez couldn’t really have a low point of the season.

Although, in those 27 magical at-bats, he struck out in nearly half of them. The swing and miss has always been an issue for Rodriguez, landing somewhere in between 25-to-33 percent of his at-bats each year down on the farm.

On his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 21, he would go 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Lance Lynn. Welcome to the show.

Final Grade: D-

Why not a “F?” Yorman did strike out in 12 of his 27 at-bats, but he also showcased the type of player he could ultimately be for the Reds. For a team that is looking for some thunder out in left field, Rodriguez could prove to be that guy.

If fellow prospects Jesse Winker and Kyle Waldrop come along quicker than expected, Rodriguez could be the guy for somebody else. With a rocket launcher for an arm, and power in his bat, acquiring a 22-year-old with vast minor league experience, would command quite the return.