Prospect Update: Sean Rodriguez

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Sean Rodriguez was drafted by the Angels in the third round in 2003, out of high school in Miami, Florida. He was rated as a strong athlete with power potential and some speed, though scouts didn't mmuch care for his size. He hit .269/.332/.380 in rookie ball, with 11 steals. I gave him a Grade C in the '04 book, rating him as just a name to watch.

Rodriguez began 2004 with Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League, hitting .250/.333/.393, which isn't that bad for the Midwest League at age 19. He was sent down to Provo in the Pioneer League in June and ripped the place up, hitting .338/.486/.569 and earning league MVP honors. I gave him a Grade B- in the '05 book, noting strong plate discipline (51 walks at Provo). His defense at shortstop was given positive reviews, but the Angels system was full of shortstops at the time and there were rumors he might convert to catcher.

That didn't happen and he remained at infielder in 2005, back at Cedar Rapids where he hit .250/.371/422 with 14 homers, 78 walks, and 27 steals. I gave him a Grade C+, He was impressive to watch, showing unusual pop for his size and a hustling approach.

Rodiguez was sent to the Cal League in 2006, where he hit .301/.377/.545 with 24 homers, though he also fanned 125 times in 116 games. A late-season promotion to Double-A Arkansas produced .354/.462/.662 numbers in 18 games. I saw him during that stretch and was very impressed. He had played well when I saw him in '05, but late in '06 he was really locked in, I gave him a Grade B+ in the '07 book, though even at the time I wrote that he was more of a .250-.270 hitter than a .300+ guy, granted with power and a good OBP.

He did not quite live up to that rating, and in retrospect I did not adjust enough for the Cal League. He hit .254/.345/.423 last  year in the Texas League, with 17 homers, 54 walks, 15 steals, and 132 strikeouts in 508 at-bats. I lowered him to Grade B, but noted that despite the weakish batting average and the strikeouts, I still liked him due to his ability to contribute in several different areas.

Rodriguez is hitting .313/.426/.669 this year for Triple-A Salt Lake. He hit .185/.274/.246 in 22 games for the Angels, with some strikeout issues. He needs more Triple-A, but I still like him quite a bit. One thing that stands out is a better BB/K/AB ratio this year in the minors: 23 walks, 28 strikeouts in 163 at-bats. He converted to second base this year, but has also seen additional time at shortstop and the outfield. He's no gold glover but he has a decent glove and is not a liability.

I still think he's somewhere in the Grade B range, though that could be regular or B-, I'm not sure. Rodriguez is still just 23. Scouts still don't like his stocky body, but the results have been there, he hustles, and is "fundamentally sound" as coaches say, at least he has been in minor league games I've seen. Long-term, he's a .250-.260 hitter with moderate power, decent OBP ability, and a nicely versatile glove.

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