Yariel Rodriguez held a workout for Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday afternoon in the Dominican Republic. The Cincinnati Reds were one of the teams in attendance according to Francys Romero for MLB.com.
Rodriguez had pitched professionally in Cuba from 2015 through 2020 before heading to Japan where he pitched in 2020 through 2022. He did not pitch in the 2023 season, choosing to prepare to make a run at the big leagues. He did, however, pitch for the Cuban National team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
This spring with the Cuban National team he made two starts, throwing 7.1 total innings and allowed two runs. Control wasn’t great as he hit two batters and walked six others. Rodriguez did strike out 10.
We did get to see pitch data from both starts. His fastball averaged 94.9 MPH, while his slider came in at 83.7 and in the WBC had very high spin rates, and his splitter came in at 88.9 MPH. Small sample sizes apply to both of those, but it does give a general baseline.
On Wednesday morning, Francys Romero shared video from the workout and provided some data on his pitch metrics.
Cuban ace RHP Yariel Rodriguez (26) impressed yesterday in his first tryout with more than 15 MLB teams watching in the Dominican Republic.
After 6 months without active play, the speed, pitch movement and spin rate are there.
FB (9 pitches) 96.2 MPH / 2586 Spin
SL (6 pitches)… pic.twitter.com/7diQMoQQYL
— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) October 11, 2023
During the workout, Rodriguez threw five different pitches. The high spin rates on the fastball, slider, and curveball certainly are going to turn some analytic heads.
In both 2020 and 2021 Yariel Rodriguez was a starting pitcher for Chunichi. He threw 120.2 innings in 23 games over those two seasons with a 3.88 ERA, 59 walks, and 128 strikeouts. But in the 2022 season he transitioned to the bullpen and posted a 1.15 ERA in 56 games where he threw 54.2 innings. He allowed just 32 hits, no home runs, walked 18 batters (2 were intentional), and he picked up 60 strikeouts. You can see all of his stats from both Cuba and Japan here.
Cincinnati could use some pitching. Whether that’s another starter for added depth or whether it’s another reliever – they need it. A pitcher like Rodriguez could provide an early season option for either role. That could provide some added depth in the first half in the case of an injury in the early part of the season while still working out of the bullpen.
And as we discussed the other day here at Redleg Nation, they should have plenty of money to spend on just about anything they would like. We’ll all have to wait and see what teams saw at the workout and what he will eventually sign for, but Romero reported on October 5th that several scouts he spoke with said they expect he could get a 5-year deal worth $50-70M. That same report, however, noted that Rodriguez may not be eligible to sign for several months.