Welcome back to our prospect countdown! If you like your minor-leaguers served nearly-raw, you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re looking at 19-year-old 3B prospect Aderlin Rodriguez, whose value is entirely predicated on his potential.
Signed in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic, the teenager has the build and the instincts to produce some serious power. At 6’3’’ and 210 pounds with the potential to grow more, Rodriguez has the physical attributes needed to hit the ball far. Last year he did just that, hitting 13 home runs in Kingsport before graduating to Savannah for 8 games.
It’s important to note the stark contrast between a prospect like Rodriguez and our number 9 prospect, Cory Vaughn. Whereas Vaughn came into the system fully-developed as a hitter, Rodriguez is still in the process of crafting a real approach at the plate. His strikeout-rate dipped down to 17.2% in Kingsport, a reasonable number, but ballooned to 33.3% when he moved up to the tougher South Atlantic League. Whether he can keep the strikeouts in check will be a solid indicator of how far along he is as a hitter. Thus far he hasn’t done much in terms of winning walks, but that will come with age.
Rodriguez’s strong hands give him a solid approach for contact-hitting to supplement his natural power. He hit .312 in Kingsport last year, and slugged a respectable .556. He is all projection at this point but the consensus among scouts and writers alike is that his upside is rather high.
The rawness in his offensive game is amplified even more in the field; Rodriguez isn’t much of a 3rd-baseman, but at the very least it’s a position where his bat will play. He doesn’t offer much in the way of speed. It’s the potential for plus power (or even plus-plus power) that has the scouts excited.
That said, look for the Mets to go very slowly with Rodriguez; the days of Minaya-era rushing of prospects are over, and with a 19-year old there is little reason to rush. He’ll probably spend this year trying to master Savannah (and hold his own in the field) before we get a sense of just how real this kid’s potential is.