In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at infielder Alfredo Rodriguez.
Alfredo Rodriguez’ Background
Acquired: Non-drafted free agent signing out of Cuba in July of 2016.
Born: June 17, 1994
Height/Weight: 6′ 0″ / 190 lbs
Years of MLB Experience: Zero
In the final year of the “anything goes if you’re willing to pay the penalty” international signing period the Reds went big and spent a whole lot of money. Their first big signing was of Alfredo Rodriguez for $7M. He had previously played in the Cuban National Series. Since signing he has played for the Reds affiliates in the Dominican Republic, Daytona, and Pensacola.
Alfredo Rodriguez’ 2018 Season
Despite struggles at the plate with Advanced-A Daytona in 2017, the Reds promoted Alfredo Rodriguez to Double-A Pensacola to start 2018. He got out to a nice start in the first two games, going 4-7 with a walk. He then went 1-19 over the next week before injuring his wrist and missing the next two months. When he came back off of the disabled list he was sent to Daytona. That lasted all of a week before he went back to the disabled list with another wrist injury. It would be another five weeks before Rodriguez got back on the field in a non-rehab environment. There was only a month left in the season. Over that final month, 26 games of play, he hit .217/.284/.348 for the Tortugas in Daytona.
Alfredo Rodriguez’ Playing History
Born in Cuba, Alfredo Rodriguez didn’t have a chance to sign with a Major League team unless he left the island. That didn’t happen immediately. Rodriguez did play in the top league in Cuba, the Cuban National Series. He won the league’s Rookie of the Year award and gold glove in the 2014-2015 season. He was known well for his defensive prowess, but also known for the lack of his bat. In his final season in Cuba he hit .265/.301/.284 with four extra-base hits in 84 games.
He would miss nearly two years worth of games between the time he left Cuba and began playing in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He was initially sent to the Dominican Summer League Reds team where he played for a month after signing. He struggled against players he was mostly 3-4 years older than as he shook off the rust of not playing. In 2017 he spent the entire season in the pitcher friendly Florida State League with Daytona. He struggled to hit once again, posting a .253/.294/.294 line in 118 games played. As noted above, he missed most of the 2018 season with injuries. Following the regular season he went out and played in the Arizona Fall League. In 20 games he hit .179/.236/.224.
Projecting Alfredo Rodriguez for 2019
Two of the projection systems didn’t attempt to project Alfredo Rodriguez for 2019. That’s likely due to his lack of time in the upper minor leagues. ZiPS, however, did. The bat doesn’t look good – which is completely unsurprising given his history. Not shown in the chart, though, is the defensive rating that the ZiPS system gives him. That’s a +8.1 rating, which would be among the best on the team.
ZiPS Projections | Steamer Projections | Marcels Projections
How could Alfredo Rodriguez fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
When spring training began it was tough to see where Alfredo Rodriguez could fit in Cincinnati in the 2019 season. Even as a strong defensive shortstop, his bat just didn’t seem like it was going to be there yet. And the Reds have Blake Trahan ahead of him on the depth chart if they needed a glove-only type to step in. But then the team picked up Jose Iglesias on a minor league contract, and while he hasn’t made the team yet – it seems all but locked up. That leaves little room for Rodriguez in 2019 short of something unforeseen from his bat, and likely several injuries of those ahead of him to open up the small chance of opportunity.
He’s already in his mid-20s. His he signed for x number of years, or do nondrafted free agents follow the same rules as drafted players?
He’s got a normal minor league contract like everyone else. He needs 6 years in the minors without being added to the 40-man roster before he can become a free agent.
This signing hasn’t made sense from the beginning.
Did the Cards drafting Ozzie Smith make sense early on? His second season in MLB, after playing in college, he “slashed”
The bat eventually become better enough that it was acceptable with his stellar D.
I’m more than willing to give Alfredo a bit more time to grow as a batter. People were also down on Peraza, and he has matured a bit (and is not a GG’r by any means).
Yes, but it was his second years a a major-league starter, and he was a year younger than Rodriguez is now. That puts them a world apart.
The Cards didn’t draft Ozzie Smith the Padres did. He was traded to the Cards after a conflict with the Padres.
The signing itself made sense. He’s got, and has always had a big league glove. The hope was with the size added, and some swing changes, he’d hit enough to make that glove matter.
The questionable part was the sheer amount of money spent.
They gave him a little extra to wait and sign. But it doesn’t sound like other teams were in at this price. It’s been a signing that’s been questioned, for the price, since day 1.
The fact that he was/is older than the teenage Latin America kids is one reason he got more money. There’s less “risk” in the development. At the same time, everyone, and I do mean everyone, wondered if he would ever hit. So it’s not like they were signing Yasiel Puig out of Cuba to tore up the Cuban League.
I would move him to pitcher. He isn’t going to hit; Peraza is only 2 months older; and the Reds have the soon-to-be 21 year-old (and better) Jose Garcia only a level behind him.