Dereck Rodriguez, who spent his first three major league seasons with the SF Giants, signed a free-agent contract with the Colorado Rockies.
Rodriguez, a Texas native who played high school ball in Florida, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 Amateur Draft as an outfielder. After being converted to a pitcher The 6-foot right-hander made his major league debut with the SF Giants and spent the last three major league seasons with them. He accrued a 12-15 record in 51 appearances, including 35 starts.
In 2020, Rodriguez was limited to just two games (both of which came in August) and allowed 10 hits and six runs in four innings. He was soon placed on waivers and claimed by the Tigers but never made an MLB appearance in Detroit.
Rodriguez will seek to shore up the pitching staff of a Rockies squad, which was last in the National League in runs allowed per game (5.9), earned run average (5.59), and runs allowed (353). This was a huge part of why they finished fourth in the division standings with a 26-34 record.
Although he’s only 28 years old and entering his fourth season, the 6-foot right-hander needs to limit baserunners and keep the ball in the park. In 2019, Rodriguez served up a whopping 21 homers in 28 appearances and recorded a 1.46 WHIP (walks and hits per inning). He doesn’t strike out many batters as well, posting 162 in 221 1/3 career frames.
The Rockies are hoping Rodriguez can repeat the success he had in his rookie year: a 6-4 record with a 2.81 earned run average in 21 appearances, including 19 starts. He accumulated 89 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings (6.8 strikeouts per nine innings) and had a 1.13 WHIP as well. Most importantly, Rodriguez kept the ball in the park, only allowing nine long balls to the 487 batters he faced.
Kerry Crowley of The Bay Area News Group responded to the news by pointing out that Rodriguez made his big-league debut in Colorado and actually enjoyed pitching at Coors Field. Over his MLB career, Rodriguez has an impressive 1.88 ERA across 14.1 innings with 16 strikeouts and 2 walks at Coors. Perhaps he could be one of the rare pitchers that actually are at their best at the launching pad in Denver, known to be the most hitter-friendly park in baseball.
Dereck Rodriguez was an exciting surprise for the SF Giants in the 2018 season. However, he was unable to continue that success. Perhaps a change of pace at a park he’s found great success could help him have a resurgent 2021 season for the Colorado Rockies.