Baltimore Orioles: Grayson Rodriguez Enters Top 100 Territory

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 07: Exterior view of Oriole Park at Camden Yards before a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox on May 7, 2019 in Baltimore. Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 07: Exterior view of Oriole Park at Camden Yards before a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox on May 7, 2019 in Baltimore. Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The Baltimore Orioles now feature four prospects in the top 100, per MLB Pipeline.

Grayson Rodriguez has just 45 innings of professional baseball under his belt, so odds are you have yet to see the 19-year-old RHP prospect pitch in the Baltimore Orioles system. Unless you’re someone who follows the O’s minor leagues closely, odds are you don’t know much about him, yet.

A dominant start with the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2019 has lead to the name Grayson Rodriguez being mentioned more than ever before. Even though he was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, it’s seemed as if the noise surrounding Rodriguez has been very quiet. Not anymore.

Rodriguez, a 6’5″, 220-pound pitcher, is the top-ranked right-handed pitcher in the Orioles farm system, second overall to LHP DL Hall of the Frederick Keys. He now finds his name among the top 100 in all of baseball, moving up the rankings to #99 overall on MLB Pipeline. Baseball America added Rodriguez to their top 100 earlier this year.

Rodriguez has made five starts with the Delmarva Shorebirds this season, going 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 26 innings. He’s leading a wave of dominant pitching performances up and down the Orioles farm system through the first five-plus weeks of the minor league season.

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Opponents are hitting a measly .165 off Rodriguez, who has fanned 41 hitters, walked eight, and allowed just three earned runs on 15 hits (one home run). That comes out to a 41% strikeout rate and 8% walk rate for the 19-year-old. One word to summarize the first month of 2019- stupid. That’s my expert analysis. You’re welcome.

The Orioles are limiting Rodriguez this season, who will be skipped frequently in the rotation to control his innings. There’s absolutely no reason to be aggressive with Rodriguez, who won’t turn 20 until after the 2019 season. As much as I selfishly would like to see Rodriguez earn a promotion to the High-A Frederick Keys, to trim my travel time from four-plus hours to two hours to see him live, keeping him in the South Atlantic League for much of, if not all of, 2019 is the likely, and smart, decision.

Due to his small handful of innings in the Gulf Coast League in 2018 and stint in Delmarva this year, there have been very few opportunities to watch the dominant righty live, so I won’t speak to what I haven’t been able to get a good luck at, yet, but all reports coming from the ballpark paint a beautiful picture of a potential top of the rotation arm for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s 19, commands a four-pitch mix, misses a ton of bats, and has done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground in his first few career starts.

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Rodriguez joins fellow Baltimore Orioles minor leaguers OF Yusniel Diaz (56th overall), Ryan Mountcastle (62nd overall), and DL Hall (80th overall) on MLB Pipeline’s list of top 100 prospects.