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Elvin Rodriguez Shows Arm Speed, Poise

The Tigers added 23-year-old righthander Elvin Rodriguez to the 40-man roster in November to prevent him from qualifying for minor league free agency.

Rodriguez spent the bulk of 2021 in the Double-A Erie rotation, making one relief appearance with Triple-A Toledo. He impressed the Tigers with his development progression.

The Angels signed Rodriguez in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic and traded him to Detroit in the Justin Upton trade in 2017.

According to scouts, Rodriguez gained more appeal through his arm speed and steady demeanor on the mound as opposed to a dazzling arsenal.

“He never jumped off the page in a big way to me,” an American League scout said. “His stuff, as a whole, is pretty good, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Rodriguez features a mid-90s fastball that touches upward of 95 mph. Scouts believe some inconsistencies in his delivery inhibit life on the pitch and don’t expect much improvement unless those inconsistencies are ironed out.

Rodriguez’s high-70s curveball has some bite, but he was working to develop its identity. A fading changeup ties his arsenal together, but much like his curve lacks true separation, creating more of a challenge in producing deception against more advanced hitters.

The 6-foot-3 righthander commanded early attention in Double-A Northeast in 2021 by tossing 14.1 scoreless innings over his first three starts for Erie.

Wrapping his Double-A campaign with a 1.30 WHIP and 5.83 ERA over 75.2 innings, Rodriguez moved to Triple-A in early October.

“It’s there and then it’s not,” a National League scout said. “I think under the right leadership, he has a chance to be a decent relief option, but he’s going to require patience. A lot of patience.”

Adding a near big league-ready arm like Rodriguez has value for the Tigers as a reliever they can work in lower leverage situations while having the flexibility to option him to Triple-A as needed.


— Righthander Garrett Hill and first baseman Spencer Torkelson were selected to represent Detroit in the Fall Stars Game. Torkelson was unable to participate following an ankle sprain that forced his removal from the Arizona Fall League.

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