No matter how much you study prospects, every year someone will get called up that you never heard of. For me this year, that player is Guilder Rodriguez, promoted to the major leagues by the Texas Rangers for September.
When that came across the transaction wire, no memories were triggered. A quick internet search revealed that Rodriguez is a 31-year-old from Venezuela who has been playing in the Rangers system since 2009 and has originally been signed by the Brewers in 2001. He hit .269/.347/.298 in 81 games for Double-A Frisco this year, has a similar career Triple-A line of .263/.351/.283, and an overall minor league mark of .256/.337/.284 in 1095 games.
He's been around a long time. I've seen quite a few Texas League and Pacific Coast League games over the years in which Rodriguez was certainly playing, for Oklahoma City or Round Rock or Frisco. So I went back and searched my old scouting notes for any impressions or information nuggets.
There was nothing. Damn frustrating.
So what do we know?
Rodriguez plays multiple positions, and the Rangers obviously think enough of him to keep him in the farm system for so long and to give him a cup-of-coffee in the majors. He has no power at all: two career home runs in over 4,000 plate appearances. But he can run some and he can bunt and he'll draw a few walks. He will do anything you ask him to do, and he loves the game.
Over at Lone Star Ball, a writer named Tepid Participation contributes these observations:
And now you're watching to see Guilder. (pronounced "WHEEL-dair") No active player in minor league baseball has played more games without seeing a single minute on a big league roster than Guilder. He's a utility man's utility man. He's played every position except catcher. He's pitched in 5 games. He's shown up and busted his ass every day for 13 seasons. . .There isn't an odometer in the world that can touch the number of miles Guilder has logged on a bus, usually in the middle of the night. 13 seasons. He's now a husband and a father to two little girls, and that's just a portion of what drives him. . . Guilder has never hidden his desire to go into coaching. He'll have no shortage of offers once his achy knees finally give out. He even threw batting practice in Frisco last week. Coaching might be where Guilder has been most important over the last few years.
He's a smart guy too. . .The mental transition he made a couple years ago to be a mentor while still helping the team win games is rare, and it is awesome. Roogie and Sardi might not be big leaguers right now were it not for G-Rod. Martin Perez learned how to absorb the wicked bounces and ups and downs of the game from G-Rod. Jurickson Profar was at the park last week chewing Guilder's ear about, well, stuff. Pat Cantwell and Jake Skole both recently told me, they make sure to look at G-Rod when setting up the infield and outfield defenses. He's been a coaching player for a few years now, and he's been a leader, and he's been a mentor, and a big brother.
Guilder deserves this.
Indeed he does.