AFL: Another Solid Performance From Joely Rodriguez

On Saturday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League, Joely Rodriguez took the hill for his fourth start of the season. He allowed one run over 2.1 innings in his first start and since then, Rodriguez had thrown seven shutout innings coming into Saturday. He didn’t throw shutout ball this time out, but he still had a strong outing. Dan Gamache was the only Pittsburgh Pirates player in the lineup. Elias Diaz was in the original lineup, but did not start. Scottsdale won big over Glendale, moving to 8-9 on the season. The Scorpions have off tomorrow.

Rodriguez gave up a lead-off single to center field. The next batter reached on an infield single, putting two runners on with no outs. Rodriguez got the first out of the game at second base on a ground ball to shortstop, putting runners on the corners. The cleanup hitter brought home the first run on a sacrifice fly. Rodriguez gave up another single, putting runners on the corners again. He got the final out on a grounder to second base. He threw 19 pitches in the inning and allowed one run.

In the second inning, Rodriguez started off with a seven pitch at-bat that ended with a strikeout. He got a quick out from the next batter, who grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch. The ninth place hitter in the lineup grounded to third base to end the inning.  Rodriguez threw 13 pitches in the second.

Rodriguez struck out the first batter of the third inning on three pitches. The next batter grounded out to second base for the second out. The side was retired in order with a fly ball to center field. He needed just nine pitches in the inning. In the fourth, he retired the side in order again, getting the last batter on a strikeout. Rodriguez threw a total of 54 pitches in the game, 34 going for strikes. He allowed three hits and retired the last ten batters he faced.

Angel Sanchez came in during the bottom of the eighth and retired the side in order,  impressing with two strikeouts and great control. He threw 13 of his 15 pitches for strikes. In four appearances, he has given up three hits and no earned runs in six innings.

Dan Gamache was at second base and batting sixth. He walked in the second inning, then walked again in the third. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded, Gamache hit a soft single to right field that was booted. Two runs scored, though he only got credit for one RBI. In the seventh inning, he lined a double into left field. In the ninth inning, he struck out, leaving him 2-for-3 with two walks.

  • John: BTW, what is his velocity? He had been high 80’s in the lower levels because he could not control a 90+ fastball. Then he progressed to early to mid-90’s while still maintaining command – is he still maintaining those numbers/command? He cuts everything and is a groundball machine. Still only 22.

    • We only got one report on his velocity from the AFL and that day was 90-94 MPH. He is a tough one to figure out. You get great reports on his stuff and obviously he had to be good for the Pirates to add him to the 40-man roster last winter. Then you look at his stats and you see one good season in six years. As mentioned above, the Pirates do care less about numbers and more about progress, so stats don’t always tell the whole story. Scouts love Rodriguez, so you have to accept that he is better than the numbers. The only thing I didn’t like about him when I saw him last year, was that everything he threw was in the same small range. Someone like Glasnow, I got speeds from 97 down to 76 when I saw him. That is a tough adjustment for hitters. When I saw Rodriguez, he was 84-90 with all but 2-3 pitches(out of 75-80) and the other speeds were 83 and 91. The scout I watched the game with loved the movement he had on everything, but I think it’s hard for a starter to live in such a small range. That’s why I think he will be a better reliever. He can throw harder as a reliever(he hit 97 once last winter in the Dominican), so that gives him good separation with his pitches, add in the movement and strong control and you have a solid reliever that can go multiple innings. Right now, I think they should have him back at Altoona as a starter and see where it goes.

      • JD

        Thanks for this response. I love this kind of deep intel. Goes way beyond what’s in the article above and really brings detailed info to the readership.

        I’ve wondered about Rodriquez for a couple seasons now and this reply answers some of my questions. It’s the kind of thing that makes P2 THE destination site for die-hard Pirate fans.

        Now. Can you answer one more question about this prospect? How do you pronounce “Joely?” Is it JOE-LEE or is it Joe-ELY? Jolly? Is the J silent, i.e: OH-lee?” Or is it like a latin “H” sound, thus, HO-LEE?

        I kind of like the sound of the name HOLY Rodriquez.
        “Wouldst thou, oh Hassan, like all this treasure for thy very own?”

        • I’ve pronounced it like the name JOEL with a Y at the end(basically exactly how it looks) and no one has ever corrected me, so I assume that is correct..

        • Right or wrong,the ballpark announcer in Altoona pronounced it like ” Joe el e “.

          • I would say he is probably right since they usually talk to the players first. No announcer wants to get a name wrong all season. When in doubt, announcers are always the best source to go to for names

    • All I can tell you is this, and this is in all honesty : in Altoona he was simply awful no matter in what capacity he was used. usually in the high 80’s to low 90’s, straight as an arrow fastball with shaky control and little command, always up in the zone.

  • maybe joely got all his pitches back in the AFL. Maybe in Altoona it was fastball academy?

    • lonleylibertarian
      October 26, 2014 7:50 am

      I was told a couple of years ago by someone much smarter than me [a site poster whose id I can’t recall] to take minor league pitching stats for the Pirates in particular with a grain of salt – “they are always working on something” – trying for focus on pitching inside or down in the zone will affect ball/strike rate and wins and losses. I get the impression Joely has been told to use all his tools and try and win. Lessons will resume next year.