San Francisco Giants: Are we Seeing the True Dereck Rodriguez?
By Jake Mastroianni
After another brilliant outing on Monday night, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez looks like the real deal.
Rodriguez shut down the Houston Astros tossing seven scoreless innings allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts before the San Francisco Giants bullpen blew a 1-0 lead in the ninth.
The right-handed pitcher has thrown his name towards the top of the National League Rookie of the Year debate. In 13 games (11 starts) this year he has a 2.34 ERA in 73 innings pitched with 61 strikeouts, 18 walks, and a 1.05 WHIP.
Most would be lying if they told you they weren’t surprised by the success from the 26-year-old who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins.
Over five minor league seasons, he compiled a 3.54 ERA in 427.1 innings pitched with 370 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.21.
He finally reached Double-A with the Twins last year where he posted a 3.94 ERA in 75.1 innings pitched with a 1.34 WHIP.
Rodriguez became a free agent this past offseason after the Twins let him go, and the San Francisco Giants were able to sign him to a minor league deal with some help from Pablo Sandoval.
He didn’t break camp with the big league club, but instead started the season in Triple-A where he had a 3.40 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched with a 1.19 WHIP.
The righty features a fastball that sits 92-93 MHP, along with three secondary pitches that include a slider, curveball, and change-up. His change-up and curveball have come along quicker than most thought, and they are both very effective pitchers.
You can ignore some early season success as hitters try to figure out someone they aren’t very familiar with. But now that there is a ton of video out on there on Rodriguez, you have to start wondering if his stuff is legit.
The rookie is on quite the run as he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since June 19 — that can’t just be a fluke.
But do I think Rodriguez is going to be a future top of the rotation arm for the San Francisco Giants? Probably not.
His minor league numbers suggest that his ceiling is more like a number three starter. Don’t turn your nose up to that suggestion either, I think the San Francisco Giants would take that all day from a guy they signed to a minor league deal this past offseason.