- Full name Yorman Jose Rodriguez
- Born 08/15/1992 in Ocumare De La Costa, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/04/2014
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Reds have had a gaping hole in left field for much of the 2010s. The club has had little choice but to turn to a series of veteran free agents such as Jonny Gomes, Ryan Ludwick and Marlon Byrd, in part because Rodriguez, signed for a then-Venezuelan record $2.5 million in 2008, has not been ready. When the Reds traded Byrd in 2015, it was a perfect opportunity for Rodriguez to prove he's more than a potential extra outfielder. Unfortunately, he was hampered by a calf injury at Triple-A Louisville that sidelined him from late July until the end of the year. Rodriguez can line home runs to right-center field, but at other times he gets pull-happy and becomes vulnerable to pitches on the outer half. Rodriguez is a tick above-average runner who is better than that underway. His arm plays as plus in right field, but he's stretched defensively in center. Where Rodriguez comes up short is his fringe-average power production is a stretch in a corner, while his hit tool is average at best. Still just 23, he is young enough to improve, but since he will be out of minor league options in 2016, he won't be able to get the consistent at-bats he needs to develop further, leaving him likely stuck in a backup outfield role, which is a tough fit for a righthanded batter who isn't a plus defender or runner.
At an age when he could be just entering pro ball had he been born in the U.S., Rodriguez is making his seventh Prospect Handbook appearance. Signed for a then-Venezuelan amateur bonus record of $2.5 million in 2008, he missed time in 2014 with an oblique injury that muted his production when he returned, but he finished strong and made his big league debut in September. Rodriguez has long been one of the toolsiest players in the system, but his plate discipline and his maturity had to catch up to his talent. He still frustrates scouts because he'll show a tick above-average run time followed by well below-average times in his next few at-bats, but when he's locked in, he shows everything a scout wants to see. Rodriguez has started to show an improved hitting approach by learning how to take a pitch the other way and knowing when to shrink or expand his strike zone. He can play all three outfield spots, but he fits best in right field where his plus arm is an asset. In center field, his average range makes him best as a fill-in. For a player who has reached the majors, Rodriguez's future potential is highly volatile. Scouts see him as a potential fourth outfielder, but one who could turn into more than that if the light switch clicks on. He's headed to Triple-A Louisville in 2015.
It's been a wild ride for Rodriguez, who set a then-Venezuelan amateur record with a $2.5 million bonus in 2008. Since then, he's had to grow up on and off the field. He disappointed scouts with inconsistent effort through the first few years of his career. When the Reds sent him back to low Class A Dayton from high Class A Bakersfield in 2012, it served as a wakeup call. Now married and a father, Rodriguez appears to have turned a corner in his maturity. Rodriguez remains still somewhat raw, but he has two present plus tools and three others that project as potentially average. Rodriguez is a 60 runner, has a 60-65 arm that is the system's best and has improved into an average defender in right field. He's not as comfortable in center. Rodriguez has above-average raw power, but his difficulties making contact have limited his production. The biggest question facing him is how much contact he will make. Rodriguez uses the whole field well, but he doesn't barrel the ball consistently, and his pitch recognition needs to improve. Rodriguez justified his place on the 40-man roster with his improvement in 2013. Still just 21, he likely will return to Pensacola, but he could be ready for a September callup. He projects as at least a useful fourth outfielder with the potential to be much more.
Signed for what was then a Venezuelan amateur record $2.5 million signing bonus, Rodriguez has had a rocky couple of seasons. He carried bad at-bats into the field and did not fit in well with his teammates in Dayton in 2011. He showed similar problems while struggling at the plate in high Class A early in 2012, but after a demotion back to low Class A, he was more receptive to coaching and gave more consistent effort. Rodriguez still has some of the best tools in the system. His throwing arm and speed both rate as plus, and his raw power earns plus-plus grades. Poor pitch recognition short-circuits his power, though he still led the Dragons in slugging last season. He chases too many fastballs up and out of the zone and tries to pull everything. He has to show a better feel for making adjustments at the plate. Defensively, Rodriguez is average in right field, and his tools should work in center, although he doesn't look as comfortable there. If the light bulb goes on, Rodriguez is a potential all-star outfielder, but he'll have to make a lot of progress with the bat. Added to the 40-man roster in November, he'll give Bakersfield a second chance in 2013.
If everything comes together, Rodriguez has the tools to be a big league all-star. He shows off plus power in batting practice, and he also has above-average arm strength and speed. Considering he was just one of three 18-year-old regulars in the low Class A Midwest League last year, he performed reasonably well in his full-season debut. But as intriguing as his upside may be, it's also fair to say that Rodriguez does almost nothing to help a team win at this point in his career. The Reds expected more from a player they invested $2.5 million in 2008, setting a since-broken record for a Venezuelan amateur bonus. Dayton improved both on the field and in the clubhouse when he went home to Venezuela with a shoulder injury in mid-July. Rodriguez has the tools to play center field, but he takes too many poor at-bats into the field, which led to run-ins with Dayton teammates who were upset when he let catchable balls drop in for hits while making minimal effort. He eventually was moved to right field to lessen his defensive damage. It's hard for scouts to get a good handle on his speed because he rarely goes all-out from home to first. Besides growing up, Rodriguez also has to make some adjustments at the plate. He lacks plate discipline, doesn't recognize pitches well and swings and misses too frequently. The biggest boom-or-bust prospect in the system, Rodriguez could return to low Class A in 2012.
Rodriguez signed for $2.5 million in 2008, setting a since-broken record for a Venezuelan amateur bonus and paving the way for a significant influx of Latin talent in the system. He has one of the highest upsides among Reds farmhands, and though he repeated Billings in 2010, he was still the Pioneer League's youngest regular at age 17. Rodriguez showed a more mature approach in his second stint at Billings. He did a better job of using the whole field and made more consistent contact. He still has a ways to go at recognizing breaking balls, and there's still more swing and miss in his swing than scouts would like. He has a quick bat and above-average raw power to all fields. If he tightens his strike zone as he matures, he should hit for a solid average. His plus speed makes him a threat to steal, though he'll likely slow down a little as he continues to get bigger. Mostly a center fielder in his pro debut, Rodriguez saw more action in right field last season. Because of his size, he profiles better in right, and he easily has enough arm strength for the position. The Reds initially viewed Rodriguez as a potential five-tool center fielder, but as he has filled out, he now looks more like a prototypical right fielder. He'll head to low Class A Dayton for his first taste of full-season ball.
The Reds made their biggest splash in Latin America in years when they signed Rodriguez for a Venezuela-record $2.5 million in 2008. Though the plan was to let him make his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Cincinnati felt comfortable promoting him when injuries left a void at Rookie-level Billings. Rodriguez is the system's best athlete. His arm and speed are plus tools, and he has excellent range and instincts in center field. He has the bat speed and frame to eventually hit for power. Because he's young and inexperienced, Rodriguez is raw in all phases of the game. At this point, there isn't a fastball, breaking ball or bowling ball that Rodriguez won't swing at. He struggles with pitch recognition and is often caught trying to pull pitches he should hit the other way. Though he's fast, his big swing slows him down coming out of the batter's box, so he doesn't get many infield hits. He must learn how to read pitchers to become a better basestealer. He needs to get a lot stronger, and there's room for another 50 pounds on his frame. Rodriguez will play most of the 2010 season at 17, so another year at Billings isn't out of the question. His ceiling is the highest among Reds farmhands, but he's a long way from fulfilling it.
The Reds scouted Rodriguez for three years before signing him in August for $2.5 million, the largest bonus ever for a Venezuelan prospect. His first pro experience came in instructional league. Talk about jumping into the deep end--his first at-bat was against Orioles righthander Brian Matusz. In Rodriguez and Dominican outfielder Juan Duran, Cincinnati believes it got the equivalent of two extra first-round picks in 2008. No one doubts Rodriguez's athleticism. He projects to hit for above-average power, already has gained 10 pounds during his short time in the United States and should continue to get stronger as he matures. He has plus-plus speed and uses it well in center field, where he's an above-average defender. He showed off the best outfield arm in the system during instructional league. Multiple scouts from other teams say that Rodriguez is helpless against breaking balls right now because he gets caught lunging for the ball instead of staying back and trusting his hands. He also has next to no experience against pro-caliber pitching, so his bat could take time to develop. Several scouts also were worried about how he carried himself, saying he has a cockiness that could prove to be a problem. Rodriguez didn't look lost against older pitchers in instructional league. He'll open 2009 in extended spring training before seeing his first game action in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Minor League Top Prospects
Signed for a then-Venezuelan amateur record of $2.5 million in 2008, Rodriguez finally showed signs of maturity last season following a demotion back to low Class A. That he reached Double-A a year later speaks to the permanent nature of his attitude adjustment. Rodriguez is perhaps the SL?s ultimate shoot-the-moon prospect because while scouts love the swing, the easy power, the speed and the arm strength, some question whether Rodriguez will ever hit enough to play regularly. He certainly didn?t quell those concerns by striking out more than a quarter of the time at both Pensacola and high Class A Bakersfield in 2013. Tall and lean, Rodriguez resembles a young Alex Rios and, like Rios, has a chance to be a five-tool right fielder. The raw power and bat speed to hit 20 homers is evident in batting practice, though it gets lost in translation in games as Rodriguez regularly gets fooled by breaking pitches and needs to improve his plate coverage. He runs well and has the range and arm strength necessary to hold down right field and possibly cover center as needed.
Rodriguez has been on the prospect radar for more than five years, ever since signing for $2.5 million in 2008, yet he was still the youngest regular in Bakersfield?s lineup, playing most of the season at age 20. Getting his second crack at the Cal League?he hit .156 for Bakersfield before a demotion last year?Rodriguez got off to another slow start, batting .220 through the end of May. He heated up in June and earned a promotion to Double-A Pensacola. Rodriguez?s tools still tantalize scouts. Though he looked overmatched early in the season, his five-tool potential is apparent?if he can unlock it. The ball jumps off Rodriguez?s bat, and he has the raw power to project as a 20-homer threat. His June turnaround came when he began starting his swing earlier, and he did a better job of staying on top of the ball and going up the middle. He still racks up strikeouts, though, as he has holes in his swing and continues to take aggressive hacks. He?s got athleticism to spare, with plus speed and a plus arm. He can cover the gaps in center field, though he may end up on a corner in the long run.
A year older and wiser, Rodriguez improved every facet of his game in a repeat of the Pioneer League. Remarkably, he again qualified as the youngest regular in the league and didn't turn 18 until the end of the season. Signed out of Venezuela for $2.5 million, he boasted one of the broadest tool sets in the league. Rodriguez did a much better job of recognizing breaking balls and making contact this season. He has plus raw power and hits the ball with authority the other way, driving 10 of his 13 extra-base hits to right field, including both of his homers. With his obvious bat speed and strong hands, he'll hit for average and power as long as he swings at strikes. A plus runner with strong defensive instincts, Rodriguez spent more time in right field than in center. With above-average arm strength and plenty of room to fill out his lean frame, he's probably destined for right in the long run, especially if his bat continues to develop. Billings manager Delino DeShields lauded his passion for the game.
A potential five-tool outfielder, Rodriguez signed for a Venezuelan-record $2.5 million bonus in 2008. He's very athletic with plus-plus speed and the ability to glide to balls in center field. He also shows an above-average arm with good accuracy, but the question is how much he'll hit. Rodriguez's bat and instincts are raw, and he struggles to recognize pitches. He has some natural power but it has yet to translate into games. His weaknesses were exposed after his promotion to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he hit .219 and struck out 61 times in 183 at-bats.
Based purely on raw tools and ultimate ceiling, Rodriguez was the Pioneer League's most intriguing prospect. The league's youngest player, he played most of the season at age 16 after signing for a Venezuelan-record $2.5 million last August. He hit .310 with 10 extra-base hits in his first 19 games with Billings following a promotion from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, but he ended the season in a 9-for-67 (.134) skid and finished with poor overall numbers. Rodriguez has the natural bat speed to hit for power, and he hit two of his three Pioneer League homers to the opposite field. His pitch-recognition skills are raw, however, and he's consistently lunging at breaking balls. Diaz said Rodriguez would benefit from committing to hitting up the middle and working on identifying breaking balls in batting practice. "He's skinny as heck, so if he adds 50 pounds to his frame, maybe he'll hit some bombs," Diaz said. "At times, it looks like if you throw the rosin bag out there, he'll swing. At his age, he's just programmed to swing." Rodriguez stood out defensively, with well above-average speed, strong instincts and good range in center field. He also has a strong arm that will serve him well in right field if he has to move after filling out physically. His big swing precludes him from getting out of the box quickly, but he has the speed to steal bases.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Cincinnati Reds in 2014
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Cincinnati Reds in 2013
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Cincinnati Reds in 2012
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Cincinnati Reds in 2011
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Cincinnati Reds in 2010
- Rated Best Athlete in the Cincinnati Reds in 2010
- Rated Best Athlete in the Cincinnati Reds in 2009