The San Francisco Giants signed rookie pitcher Dereck Rodriguez as a minor league free agent this last off-season and the results have been beyond their wildest expectations.
Rodriguez has become their best pitcher this season, heading into tonight’s game with the highest Wins Above Replacement amongst all San Francisco Giants
The rookie was spectacular again tonight, pitching six innings of one run ball to lower his earned run average to 2.41 on the year.
With 97 innings pitched at the major league level and 50.1 in Triple-A earlier this year, Rodriguez is close to matching his most innings pitched in a season.
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A pitcher since 2014, he has thrown 150 innings each of the last two seasons in the Twins organization. With 147.1 combined innings already this season, the Giants may consider skipping a start or two before the season ends.
What Rodriguez has done is throw his name into the Rookie of the Year conversation. If it wasn’t for otherworldly seasons from Ronald Acuna of the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals, this would be a battle of three pitchers. Standout pitchers Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals and Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers have similar numbers.
But it’s more than that with Rodriguez and the Bay Area right now.
As the most consistent pitcher on the Giants, there is an excitement on days D-Rod pitches. With the confidence and swagger of an ace, not to mention the numbers to back it up, he has fans in San Francisco excited about his starts.
It was another fan favorite that helped make the Rodriguez signing possible. Pablo Sandoval, who had returned to the Giants organization last year, worked out with Dereck in Florida and received a phone call to ask about the ball club. Sandoval convinced him to come to the Bay and the rest has become history.
Much has improved from the disaster of 2017, but nothing more than the depth on the pitching staff. Since June, the Giants have been one of the best staffs in all of baseball and Rodriguez has led the charge.
With so many question marks facing the upcoming off-season, one question that has clearly been answered in whether Dereck Rodriguez will make the 2019 rotation.