Eduardo Rodriguez enters spring training this year without a clear opportunity to win a job with the Baltimore Orioles, but he does appear to be the future No. 3 starter in the rotation after top prospects Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
As the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, Gausman saw his opportunity to claim the No. 5 position in the rotation wither away as the Orioles signed the top starting pitcher in Korea, Suk-Min Yoon, to a three-year contract. The contract is worth $5.575 million guaranteed and includes escalators that could bring the total of the deal to $13.075 million. The signing of Suk-Min Yoon to round out the O’s rotation only further cemented Eduardo Rodriguez as doubtful to make the Orioles out of spring training.
The Orioles signed Rodriguez for $175,000 out of Venezuela, and he began pitching stateside in 2011 at 18-years-old. Rodriguez made it all the way up to Double-A last year after having no problem with the lower levels of the minors. He features a tailing fastball at 90-94, and according to Baseball America “his 80-84 mph slider and 82-84 mph changeup flash plus potential.”
With potentially three plus pitches and average command, Rodriguez has the ceiling of a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the big leagues. He will likely start the year in Triple-A this year, but he will need a strong showing during spring training to prove he does not need a full season at Double-A. Rodriguez will turn 21 on Apr. 7 so there is no need to rush him up to the majors. With another full season to develop, Eduardo Rodriguez will give the Orioles a strong presence in the middle of their future rotation.