Minor League Prospect Note: Luigi Rodriguez, OF, Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians outfield prospect Luigi Rodriguez has been on a nice run lately for the Lake County Captains in the Low-A Midwest League, hitting .314/.415/.486 in his last 10 games. Overall, he's hitting .268/.338/.406 on the season, with 21 doubles, 11 homers, 24-for-33 in steals, 50 walks, and 133 strikeouts in 463 at-bats.
A switch-hitter, Rodriguez is listed at 5-11, 160 pounds, born November 13, 1992. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, he wasn't a big-bonus guy, but played very well in the 2010 Dominican Summer League (.301/.403/.461, 31 steals) and again in the 2011 Arizona Rookie League (.379/.408/.579, 12 steals in 25 games), emerging as one of the better prospects in the Indians system. He hasn't been as spectacular in Low-A, but he's got some tools and remains intriguing.
Rodriguez best tool is outstanding speed, rated at least a 70 on the 20-80 scale. His basestealing technique needs work, but it has improved as the season wears on (he's 11 for his last 13). Originally an infielder, he's still learning the nuances of outfield play and needs to cut back on mistakes, but he has the speed for center field. His arm is average but accurate, and he's seen some innings in right field.
Rodriguez makes an effort to be patient and has shown solid plate discipline at his best. He's getting physically stronger and has driven the ball more effectively this year for some power, but on the other hand he's also seen a spike in his strikeout rate, which is now over once per game, high enough to be a negative marker for his future. That said, he's held his own overall in full season ball at age 19.
I gave him a Grade C+ pre-season and will stick with that for now.