LA Angels Top Prospect Countdown: #21 Elvin Rodriguez
The LA Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. However, they have a good mix of prospects who will help soon and some with star potential down the road. In this series, we will evaluate each of the Angels Top 30 prospects. Today, it’s pitcher Elvin Rodriguez.
The LA Angels signed right-handed pitcher Elvin Rodriguez, during the summer of 2014. He was only 16 when they signed him, but the Angels saw an extremely raw prospect with a high ceiling.
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Rodriguez, 19, stands at 6-3, but weighs only 160 pounds. He has a good frame, but needs to fill it out with muscle if he wants his stuff to ever be elite. His delivery is extremely fluid and seems to get every ounce of energy into every pitch. His fastball is his moneymaking pitch, as it has late movement and he controls it with great finesse. It tops out in the high-80’s right now, but that number should only go up as he gains more muscle mass. His secondary pitches are exceptional, though extremely raw. His curveball looks very natural to throw and his changeup is a good third pitch. However, he will need a lot of time to fine-tune these pitches to make it to the big leagues.
His first season for the Angels was not good or bad. In the Dominican Summer League, he threw 12 games (11 starts) and owned a 4.59 ERA over 51 innings. He showed his ability to pound the strike zone and sent 36 batters down on strikes. He has never been a strikeout pitcher, instead inducing ground balls.
His second season was an encouraging sign for the Angels. Rodriguez appeared in 14 games (11 starts) and owned a 1.53 ERA. In 58.2 innings, he struck out 57 batters and walked 14. His strikeout-to-walk ratio went from 1.89 in 2015 to a solid 4.07 in 2016 (against better competition).
Rodriguez is due for another season in the Arizona Fall League and the Dominican Summer League before he tests a full season of Single-A ball. The time off will allow Rodriguez to fill out his frame and bulk up.
The Angels may have found a future front-end starter with Rodriguez. However, he has yet to play a full season of minor league ball. The Angels appear to be playing the patient game with Rodriguez, as another season in the Arizona Summer League and international play seems likely for Rodriguez. He will not be in the Big A until at least 2021, but all signs point to him being worth the wait for Halo fans.