The Pittsburgh Pirates have selected shortstop Josh Rodriguez with the first pick in the 2010 Rule 5 draft. We heard from Jennifer Langosch before the draft that the Pirates were likely to take Rodriguez with the first pick.
Rodriguez, who turns 26 in about a week, hit for a .293/.372/.486 line in 317 at-bats in AAA this past year in the Cleveland farm system. He played most of his games at shortstop, and also played second base. Langosch mentioned that he would fill the backup infield role if the Pirates went with Ronny Cedeno as their starting shortstop. That’s kind of surprising, since I figured Pedro Ciriaco would play that role. Ciriaco will be in a crowded situation in AAA, with Chase d’Arnaud, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, and Brian Friday taking up middle infield playing time.
An interesting note on Rodriguez, he was the starting shortstop at Rice University until Friday stole his position after Rodriguez returned from an injury. Rodriguez went on to be one of the top shortstop prospects in the 2006 draft, and was selected in the second round by the Cleveland Indians. He was the number 20 prospect in the Indians system in 2008, but his stock fell after a down year that season, followed by an injury filled year in 2009. He bounced back in 2010, as shown above, which makes him an intriguing pick. Indians Prospect Insider has a good summary of him in their Rule 5 draft preview.