It’s always fun when the son of a former player makes it to the major leagues and shows that he can do something. It’s even more fun when they’re the son of Hall of Famer, as is the case here with Giants pitcher Dereck Rodríguez.
In case you were wondering, Dereck Rodríguez is the son of Hall of Fame catcher, Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez.
This season as a whole has been pretty ‘bleh’ for the Giants as they are an aging team that doesn’t have a lot of young talent and doesn’t have nearly as much pitching as they did back when they won three World Series titles from 2010-2014.
They still do have an outside shot at winning the NL West, but it’s pretty unlikely.
One very bright spot for San Francisco this season though has been Dereck Rodríguez.
So far this season he has 12 starts for the major league team, and has racked up 80 innings, 65 strikeouts and a very impressive ERA of 2.25.
Some of the advanced numbers might suggest that Rodríguez has overachieved a little bit to this point, but even so, his advanced numbers are still good. He’s only allowing 0.5 HR/9 innings. One thing he does need to improve though are his BB/9 and K/9. His BB/9 is sitting at 2.1, which is a little bit high in my opinion, but overall isn’t too bad. His K/9 is 7.3, which isn’t bad at all considering his arsenal of pitches and is something I would expect to increase as he gains more experience pitching to major league hitters.
He also has a WAR of 2.7, which is incredibly impressive given that he’s only started 12 games and has only appeared in 14 games this season. That’s trending towards a WAR that you would see from someone who is a bonafide All-Star or even an MVP candidate.
So what has made Rodríguez so good?
He’s a former sixth-round draft pick by the Twins and he is also a guy who didn’t have overly-impressive minor league numbers.
For starters, his ground ball rate is very good. 40.4% of the balls that are put in play against him are on the ground, which has also been helped by a defense that has had a positive impact overall in terms of him giving up runs. He’s also taking advantage of playing in AT&T Park, which is a great pitchers park. His ERA at Home is 1.89 this season.
Something that has been really unique is his stats as he goes through the order multiple times. When Rodríguez goes through the lineup the first time, opponents are hitting .276, but the second time through the order that number drops to .177 and then even more impressive, the third time through the order batters are hitting .157 against him. That is not something you see too often, as the majority of pitchers give up more baserunners as they go through a lineup more.
Rodríguez is someone that tops out in velocity at about 94 MPH so he relies a lot on control, and he does a very good job of avoiding the heart of the plate with his pitches.
He is also someone that needs to have more of an array of pitches than just a fastball and he has exactly that. He mixes in a slider, curveball and changeup pretty frequently, keeping hitters off-balance.
His off-speed pitches have good value and that combination of control and him mixing up his pitches well, leads to a lot of soft contact, which has an obvious correlation to the amount of success a pitcher has.
One thing that is concerning is his FIP is at 3.08, which is a good amount higher than his ERA. That’s something that can be pointed back to his walk rate, which is something he will need to cut down because walking batters at the major league level. Walks directly leads to giving up runs, which is pretty common knowledge.
Rodríguez still has rookie status, which is great news for San Francisco because he looks promising and is someone that is making a late push for NL Rookie of the Year.
Like I said, this team doesn’t have an over-abundance of young talent, especially on the mound, and they really don’t have too much coming through the system. However, Rodríguez is a very promising looking 26-year old pitcher that is someone that can be in the rotation going forward as they re-tool things in San Francisco to try and get the level of pitching in the organization back to what it was when they won those three World Series titles.