It was a picture perfect season for Endy Rodriguez, who burst on the national scene while jumping from High-A to Triple-A, hitting his way level after level and flying up prospects charts everywhere.
After picking apart Single-A pitching in 2021, the catcher found a way to top a season where he finished in the top 5 in almost every offensive category among Florida State League hitters.
That was even a slow start to the season in Greensboro that saw him post a wRC+ of just 76, as well as striking out 31.6% of the time during the month of April. Things started to shift for him once May hit, and really took off when he was able to focus on catching again.
Endy Rodriguez with 2 more hits with Indianapolis #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/yq4QuikGPH
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) September 24, 2022
After May, not only was the strikeout rate cut in half (16%), he posted a 182 wRC+, hitting 24 of his 25 home runs. Of course playing in Greensboro helps those offensive numbers most times. However, Rodriguez put up a wRC+ of 200 the final two months while with Altoona and Indianapolis.
While it’s easy to just look at his offense, it was also his play behind the plate that took a huge step forward. Yes, part of the appeal to Endy’s game is his ability to play multiple positions, but his first home is catcher and he emerged as one of the better players behind the plate, not only in the system but in all of the minors.
Too many people talk about his offense, which has been amazing. But it’s his defense why I believe he’s climbing up the system ladder right now. Watch how he back hands this out the dirt, double clutch and still gets the runner. All around amazing play #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/7sfHTIcp7M
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) August 7, 2022
It took a little bit to get back in the swing of things behind the plate after Henry Davis took the majority of the time while they were both in Greensboro. Once that adjustment period was over, it was easy to see why there isn’t a doubt Endy can be a full-time starting catcher in the majors.
He eclipsed a 30% caught stealing rate overall in 2022, including catching 45% of would-be base stealers once he hit Double-A Altoona.
Heading into 2023, anticipation is high about him making his major league debut after being added to the 40-man roster during the offseason.
Most are high on him this season, with Steamer projecting him to put up a 1.9 WAR in just 64 games played. That total is the 19th highest mark among catchers and of the top 20, he is projected at the fewest amount of games. It’s also a 4.8 WAR/162 games played, and that total is approaching elite among the position.
Ever since he’s joined the organization, Rodriguez has done nothing but hit and get better. The Pirates had Oneil Cruz, Roansy Contreras, and Jack Suwinski come up and establish themselves last year as rookies, with Endy now set to lead the next wave in 2023.
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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.
Talk is cheap. We have to have several or more of these kids bust out. I’d really like to see Priester become more than just a middle of the rotation starter.
Have seen a few projections that have endy as just a steadily average regular rather than anything more, I was envisioning him as borderline all star potential but maybe I am overshooting a bit?
4.8 WAR / 162 is All-Star (or HOF) level
Seems like most prospect outlets had him around 50 FV for this cycle of updates which IIRC is just an average big leaguer
With such a projection, wonder how many Wins the team would be projected at with Endy starting from Day1. Could it push them over the 80 mark?
I still think that, if he grabs ahold of the Catcher’s job this year for the Pirates, Davis gets moved to 1b or RF. Even with his ‘70’ arm. That’ll look good on RF,
The Reds are planning to catch their Hot Kid two times a week, Tank could do that, play right and DH.
C/1B/OF ala 2008 Ryan Doumit.. hopefully with better OF Defense
Great minds! I thought of Doumit as I was typing that!
I believe Doumit was moved from catcher because he had issues throwing, especially to 1st base. I read where the only concern with Davis’s defense was his framing. That is going to be moot soon due to the massive inconsistency in the ball/strike calls by the home plate umps. Framing won’t matter anymore in a couple of years.
That and the fact he was just an awful catcher.
It depends which system they end up using, I heard talk of one where the team has to use a challenge….. I think that would be a crappy way of doing it, but this is the MLB….
Watching Doumit catch was unpleasant. The amount of movement was over the top.
A shame because the talent seemed to be there but just never harnessed it.
Why can’t they both Catch? Split it 100-62, or thereabouts, and have them play other positions, DH, or rest, the days they’re not catching. This will allow for essentially a free utility player on the roster.
Moving either of them off Catcher now would be taking away a potential plus plus bat from a premium defensive position. Not smart.
Makes sense to me and you, but will it make sense to the Bucs? 🤣🤣🤣
This is the scenario I feel like will happen. Have them both split catcher and then move around to first/DH to get bat in lineup as much as possible
That seems reasonable
In his entire pro career, Endy has caught less than 1400 innings which is less than a full MLB season
I can see that happen, especially if they go to Robo Ump. Framing would no longer matter and that has been Davis’s biggest flaw. I can see Robo within 2 years.
You can see Robo Cop on Netflix right now!