Rookie Review: Paco Rodriguez, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have promoted pitching prospect Steven "Paco" Rodriguez to the major leagues, just three months after picking him in the 2012 draft. The Dodgers could use him in key bullpen situations, with manager Don Mattingly pointing out that Rodriguez "wasn't a high school kid, he was a college kid who's pitched in some big games."
This isn't really a rush job, and I think the Dodgers are right that Rodriguez can pay a quick draft dividend and can help them now.
A 6-3, 215 pound lefty, he was drafted in the second round this spring from the University of Florida. Signed for a slot-value $610,800 bonus, Rodriguez works with a low-90s fastball, a cutter, and a slider. He has a deceptive delivery, but his stuff is impressive; check out the breaking ball he threw at 2:42 in the video linked above.
Very effective as a college reliever, he posted a 2.08 ERA in 100 career innings with the Gators over the last two years, with an excellent 125/25 K/BB ratio and just 80 hits allowed.
He started his career with six shutout relief innings for Great Lakes in the Low-A Midwest League, fanning 10. Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga, he posted a 22/6 K/BB ratio and just seven hits allowed in 13.2 innings, also picking up three saves. Pro hitters have had no more luck against him than college hitters did.
Rodriguez's combination of command and stuff is good enough that he doesn't have to be confined to LOOGY work. He held lefties to a .174 mark in Double-A, but right-handers were even less successful with a .125 mark. I like him a lot and I think he can be very, very useful for the stretch run.