Hector Rodriguez Surprises Reds With Newfound Power


When Hector Rodriguez joined the Reds at the 2022 trade deadline, he was considered to be a hit-over-power player. The 19-year-old outfielder has started to change perceptions this season. 

Rodriguez hit three home runs in each of his first two pro seasons. This season he hit 14 of them through 66 games with Low-A Daytona in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He led the league in slugging percentage by nearly 100 points. 

“For a smaller guy, he’s got incredible strength,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said of the 5-foot-8 Rodriguez.

“He’s certainly shown that his exit velocities and his raw power were probably better than we projected. Since we’ve gotten him, he’s shown an increase in power.”

Rodriguez had a top exit velocity of 110.2 mph this season. That number had been topped by just five Reds players in the major leagues this season. 

While his power has taken a big step forward, Rodriguez’s batting average had not suffered. The lefthanded hitter was batting .309/.363/.584 with 20 walks and 56 strikeouts. 

The Reds acquired Rodriguez last July when they traded Tyler Naquin to the Mets. Originally a second baseman, Rodriguez is playing center field this season, with a few starts in left field.

“He’s not a natural center fielder, so his jumps and reads are still a little raw, but he’s showing great improvement,” Pender said.

While Rodriguez must improve his outfield instincts, his arm was up to the task. His top throw this season clocked at a well above-average 98.4 mph. 

Rodriguez broke out in the first half of the season because of his amplified power. He’s more than just a power hitter, though, and shows an ability to hit for average, good speed and a strong outfield arm.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone