The Cincinnati Reds have mercifully ended the Alfredo Rodriguez experiment. After investing seven-plus years into Rodriguez's development, the shortstop was released by the club. The Cuban inked a $7M signing bonus during the 2016-17 international signing period and never made it to the big leagues.
Before there was Jose Barrero, there was Alfredo Rodriguez, who was picked by many throughout the organization to be the Reds' shortstop of the future. While Rodriguez flashed the leather and played a level of defense that could start at the major league level tomorrow, he never figured things out at the plate.
Former Reds prospect Alfredo Rodriguez was a major flop.
Rodriguez was part of the same international signing class that saw Cincinnati ink Vladimir Gutierrez to a contract. Last summer, the right-hander made his long-awaited major league debut and appears to cemented as the Reds No. 4 starter heading into spring training.
Rodriguez, however, never realized his major league dream. The defensive wizard always dazzled scouts and player development personnel, but his wRC+ never eclipsed 100 even once during his minor league career with the Cincinnati Reds.
Rodriguez wasn't necessarily strikeout-prone, as only a nine-game stop at Double-A during the 2018 season yielded a strikeout-rate above 18.0%. But, Rodriguez never showed much power either as his slugging percentage often hovered at or below .350.
That same signing class produced such major league stars as Tampa Bay Rays slugger Randy Arozarena and Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert. Former Reds left-hander Cionel Pérez was also part of that year's class.
The isn't a great deal of international presence on the Cincinnati Reds current roster. Gutierrez, Barrero, Aristides Aquino, Dauri Moreta, and Allan Cerda represent the only international signees represent the only international players who signed with the Reds.
Eugenio Suárez (Detroit Tigers), Luis Castillo (San Francisco Giants), Reiver Sanmartin and Daniel Duarte (Texas Rangers), and Luis Cessa (New York Mets) are all part of the Reds 40-man roster but were signed by other ball clubs.
The Cincinnati Reds do have some talented players currently in the pipeline. Outfielders Ariel Almonte and Malvin Valdez as well as catching prospect Daniel Vellojin are highly regarded. The most highly-touted international signee is Elly De La Cruz. If the 20-year-old performs up to the level that scouts believe he can, it'll be a major boost for the Reds international scouting department.