Luis Rodriguez Ready For Long-Awaited Debut
Outfielder Luis Rodriguez signed with the Dodgers for $2.67 million out of Venezuela at age 16 in 2019. It was the largest bonus the Dodgers have ever given to an international amateur.
Now that Rodriguez is 18, the Dodgers feel like they can remove the bubble wrap.
Rodriguez has spent most of his two years in the system working out at the team's Dominican Republic complex. Travel restrictions prevented him from joining instructional league in Arizona, so the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Rodriguez's only game action since signing came during the Dominican instructional league last winter.
This spring, Rodriguez is headed to Arizona for minor league training camp.
"We're really excited to get him over here, get him stateside and working with our staff and continue the development that's been going on down at (Campo Las Palmas)," Dodgers farm director Will Rhymes said.
What the Dodgers have been able to see of Rodriguez so far is just what they expected.
"I think we've confirmed a lot of things that we loved about him as an amateur," Rhymes said. "Just the athleticism, the speed/power combination. He can really hit.
"He just has a ton of upside."
Rodriguez is expected to go to extended spring training followed by a debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Chances are he'll be surrounded by older players at both stops.
"I don't think it'll be too much of a stretch for him," Rhymes said. "With his ability level, he'll fit right in."
But Rhymes acknowledged the introduction to playing in the competitive situation of a professional league will be an early challenge in Rodriguez's career.
"Even at the complex level he'll be really young," Rhymes said. "But it will give us a good barometer of where he's at versus his peers. And getting a season's worth of information and data on him will help us be more targeted in how we approach the next steps.
"We couldn't be more excited to have him here and learn more about him as a player and how we can kind of hit the target more precisely going forward."
— Righthander Mitch White was late beginning his throwing program this spring after suffering an impingement in the back of his throwing shoulder. White said he went through a shoulder-strengthening program before he was cleared to start throwing. He will likely open the season at the alternate training site.
— The Dodgers received outfielder Ryan Noda as the second player to be named in last summer's trade of righthander Ross Stripling to the Blue Jays. Righthander Kendall Williams had already been assigned to the Dodgers. Noda, 25, was the Jays' 15th-round pick in 2017 out of Cincinnati. He has hit a combined .272 with 40 home runs in three seasons between the Rookie and Class A levels.