Angels No.4 prospect Chris Rodriguez has been nothing short of electric in his appearances this season. I think Rodriguez has provided a jolt not just from a statistical standpoint, but he brings an energy and excitement to the rest of the team.
The 22-year-old has had an uphill battle to get back to the mound. Rodriguez has not pitched competitively since the 2019 season due to back surgery and the global pandemic. He hasn’t pitched above High-A ball, but the Angels were impressed enough with his overpowering high-90s fastball and mid-80s breaking ball during spring training to give him the green light to pitch in the big leagues.
Angels: Is it too early to make a case for Chris Rodriguez as Rookie of the Year?
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So far so good, as Rodriguez has allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out eight and walking five through 6.1 innings pitched this season.
Maddon has opted to use Rodriguez as a long reliever rather than throwing him in the starting rotation. It’s the smart move to get Rodriguez’s feet wet while monitoring his health, and it’s still very possible to use the right-hander in the rotation at some point in the future.
I don’t think they should use him in the rotation unless it’s an emergency situation. Things are going well right now, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For skipping multiple levels of minor league competition, what Rodriguez is doing right now is all the more impressive especially considering the competition he’s faced.
If he can continue this pace, Rodriguez will be among the league’s best rookie arms of 2021.
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Again it’s still early and a lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but right now the future of the Angels is looking brighter than it was a few months ago.