There’s still time for Dereck Rodriguez to regain the standout form he showed with the San Francisco Giants as a rookie during the 2018 season.
Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, Rodriguez went 10-6 with a 3.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 143.1 innings between High-A and Double-A during the 2017 season.
The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck spent the first three seasons of his professional career as an outfielder before moving to the mound. That explains his slow development and he didn’t play above the rookie ball level until 2015.
He began the 2018 season at Triple-A Sacramento where he posted a 3.40 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 50.1 innings over nine starts before he was called up to the majors.
The 26-year-old made his MLB debut on May 29, 2018, and he quickly emerged as one of the game’s most promising young starters, posting a 2.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 89 strikeouts in 118.1 innings over 19 starts.
Despite his standout performance, there were red flags in his peripherals, including a 3.73 FIP and a relatively low 6.8 K/9 rate.
He began the 2019 season in the rotation, but struggled to a 5.05 ERA over his first eight starts, before he was demoted to Triple-A. He returned to the majors as a reliever in late May and he’s bounced back and forth between the MLB roster and the minors ever since.
All told, D-Rod has a 5.26 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 75.1 innings over 12 starts and nine relief appearances at the MLB level this year. Among other things, his walk rate is up (2.7 to 3.5 BB/9) and his strikeout rate is down (2.7 to 3.5 K/9).
With team control through the 2024 season, Rodriguez still has time to prove he can be part of the San Francisco Giants long-term plans.
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