Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Player Review: Joely Rodriguez

Editor's Note: This is the 12th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. AJ Ellis was the last player profiled. 

Only 17 pitchers have pitched more games for the Philadelphia Phillies than Antonio Bastardo. In many ways, it's a who's who of Phillies greats. Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Ryan Madson and Tug McGraw are the top four. Grover Cleveland Alexander is ninth. Cole Hamels is 15th. Carlton, Madson and McGraw all won rings. Carlton, Alexanader and Roberts have legitimate claims on being the best pitcher ever in Phillies pinstripes.
Much of the rest are relief pitchers who spent several years in Philly. Ron Reed is sixth. Rheal Cormier is seventh.  Ricky Bottalico is 11th.

It's easy to forget Bastardo spent that much time in Philadelphia. Six very uneven years.
On Dec. 10, 2014. the Phillies traded Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a younger version of himself, Joely Rodriguez. It was one of the first big moves in the rebuild.
Rodriguez was a strong left-handed pitcher with a low 90s fastball and a nice little slider.
At that point, Rodriguez had shuttled between starting and relieving.
The Phillies continued their experiment in starting Rodriguez in 2015 in the minors. He gave up a 6.12 ERA over 129.1 minor league innings between Double and Triple-A.
They made him a full-time reliever this year and saw the fruits of that transition.
He pitched to a 2.57 ERA, allowing 16 walks against 41 strikeouts in 49 AA innings. He pitched 19.1 innings in Lehigh Valley, giving up 6 walks and striking out 18. Batters just buried pitches into the ground against him.
That earned him some time in Philly.
In the Big Leagues, Rodriguez impressed. The 24-year-old's fastball was in the mid-90s. His slider was crisp. The results were there, albeit in a small sample size.
His counting stats weren't fantastic, but promising: seven strikeouts against four walks (one intentional) and eight hits in 9.2 innings. He had a 23.3 swinging strike percentage.
Phillies fans have to be looking forward to more from Rodriguez in 2017.

Grade: B-
Will we see him again in 2017: It's very likely