SP Dereck Rodriguez
San Francisco Giants fans and the front office alike believed they had found a diamond in the rough when Dereck Rodriguez came out of nowhere to emerge as the team’s best pitcher in 2018.
However, a slow start to the 2019 season saw him relegated to the minor leagues, and now there’s a real question of how he fits into the team’s long-term plans.
The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck was signed as a minor league free agent on Nov. 15, 2017, after starting his career in the Minnesota Twins organization.
He was thrust into action to help the injury-riddled starting staff and quickly emerged as one of the best young pitchers in baseball, posting a 2.81 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 118.1 innings over 19 starts. Even with his low strikeout rate, the Giants believed that they had found a future piece of their starting rotation and rightfully so.
However, he’s been a different pitcher in 2019.
After posting a 5.05 ERA with 28 strikeouts 17 walks in 41 innings, he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to work on his command. He was recalled two weeks later and relegated to mop-up duty out of the bullpen.
He was optioned again on July 1, this time with the intention of getting him regular work as a starter. With Madison Bumgarner destined to be wearing a different jersey come August, there will be an open spot in the rotation.
It’s a golden opportunity for Rodriguez to win back his starting spot.
Once he gets sufficiently stretched back out at Triple-A, he can’t squander the opportunity to contribute to a Giants team that needs quality starts. This is his chance to prove he belongs in the rotation the rest of the season and going forward.