Back in 2021, before I came to Pirates Prospects, I spent a lot of time watching the Bradenton Marauders baseball team.
There were plenty of noteworthy players on that roster, one of which is pitching for the Dominican Republic in the WBC right now, but another one stood above the rest.
He was new to the system, but there was plenty of intrigue surrounding him. Sometimes you look at someone while they are playing baseball, and just know he’s going to be something special.
That was Endy Rodriguez. I won’t say I saw the kind of rise that Rodriguez has had over the past year, but there was little doubt watching him play in Bradenton back then that he would be an impact player of some sort.
There's a zoomed in view of Endy swinging. One of the many things I love about watching him play, look at the hands. So quiet, nearly no movement needed to get them in position to swing. He's every bit legit. #Pirates pic.twitter.com/mZCaqOHgt8
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) March 15, 2023
Despite perhaps being the team’s best hitter during spring, Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A after Tuesday’s game in which he picked up two hits.
It opened up the very predictable debate about why he was sent down despite being one of the team’s best players. There is a small note in the move that adds some context as to why it was made.
— Ethan Hullihen (@EthanHullihen) March 14, 2023
Of course, service time being involved, as After Wednesday, if a player is injured and can’t be assigned to the minors, he’s going to accrue major league time – something Pirates fans are all too familiar with.
On the other hand, Rodriguez does have just 37 games above A-Ball in his career. There is a legitimate argument sending him back is the right call to get more experience in a less pressing situation.
After the spring he had, that’s a tough sell, but it’s one that isn’t uncommon – especially for a catcher. There will be a lot of the team’s top pitching prospects in Triple-A to start the year, and the added time to work together could be invaluable in the future.
That’s where things get all twisted. At some point you would like to see the team reward a player with a spot on the major league roster from the get-go, especially if they’ve earned it.
The league has shifted things to actually reward teams for doing this.
Maybe the Pirates will get there some day, with another player lower in the system. Or maybe they don’t want to take the risk and play the conservative small market game.
In the end, winning cures all, and if the Pirates come out to start the season and puts some wins on the board, it could soften the blow of having Rodriguez start in the minors.
Another one of the players optioned to Triple-A, Burrows pitched a couple of innings on Tuesday against the Orioles. Across two innings, the righty walked one and struck out three, without allowing a hit.
The most notable thing for him was the continued usage of the slider, and the progress he’s made from the first time we saw it to now has been impressive. Burrows threw the slider seven times, getting three whiffs and two called strikes (71% called strike-whiff rate).
It’s improving, quickly, and heading from a ‘show me’ pitch all the way to an actual weapon.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By John Dreker
**Spring Training Recaps: Orioles 7, Pirates 6; Pirates 2, Twins 2 Two games to recap from yesterday
**Pirates DVR: Chavez Young Shines For Great Britain In WBC
**Pirates Prospects Daily: What to Watch for With Two Weeks Until the Season
**World Baseball Classic Recap: Duane Underwood Jr. Contributes to Puerto Rico’s Perfect Game
**Pirates Trim Eight Players from Spring Training Roster, Including Endy Rodriguez and Mike Burrows The aforementioned roster cuts, plus six more.
Song of the Day
Today’s road lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays
Our squad vs. the Blue Jays.
📺 AT&T SportsNet
📻 KDKA 100.1 FM & 1020 AM | The PRN #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/98TuhB28cK
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 15, 2023
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.
While the current edition of Pirates ’23 looks a little (cough, cough) weak, I can’t help but get excited about the idea of a lineup that includes Endy Rodriguez. He looks like a doubles machine.
Amen! My favorite Pirate prospect now for the 3rd year running. Hope he blitzes AAA and is the starting big league catcher by Memorial Day.
Mid spring doldrums – the longer spring training goes on, the more inept I think the offense looks. Please fire Shelton and Haines soon! Surely the whole system can’t always look like this when they get on the mother ship!
Again, they just give up 5+ every game and score 1 run. I am still optimistic about the season but the way spring has went it is lowering my expectations. I do have to say swaggerty is the man though. He better come north!
who´da thunk it??? Brubaker blowing the game in the 5th
moar of the samez
Worst thing will be if Endy struggles in AAA it won’t confirm that it was a good decision but will cause people to say that he’s sulking because he should have made the team. Like Cruz last year. From the little I’ve seen I think Endy could use a lot of work defensively still
we are already beyond the fact that Swaggerty has won the center field crown
at this point, Canaan deserves to go north above Jack
CSN is basically Hayes without the defense, can’t lift the ball and all he does is hit it hard on the ground the other way. He wasn’t even that good in AAA.
They brought in Hedges to be the starting catcher in April and then at some point to transition to Endy, be foolish for a number of reason to change that plan now. If they were to keep Swaggerty down to get an extra year of service “just in case” he turns into a star caliber player, that would be service time manipulation to get upset about, but not Endy at age 22 and 37 games above A ball.
foolish is bringing in Hedges to mentor Endy and then separating them from April 1 until July
It will be interesting to see if the Cards pull the switch on Walker for opening day. I get that they aren’t the small market that Pittsburgh is and that Endy is not exactly the same as Jordan. But I also get that they are winners. Everything they do is about winning. Fans like winning. Both of these players appear to have bright futures. What will the winning team do?
On another downer – have you seen the spring Blake Sabol is having for SF? Having Vilade on the 40 man is so much more valuable than Sabol!
Actually, St. Louis is a small market like Pittsburgh, although they are able to draw from a much larger regional area.
St. Louis is just run much better. Every year the Pirates draft in front of them, but St. Louis always seems to get better players.
it’s just so frustrating for a team to wax poetic about “getting better”, and to actually follow thru on that in some ways – signing solid vets to fill holes – but then demote the best catcher in the system who seems quite ready.
theres a time and a place to send down your good, nearly ready, prospects. that time is not when your catcher situation is “Austin Hedges and Kevin Plawecki”.
i think a lot of us forget that development can and does happen in the majors.
it’s not like i didnt know this was coming, so im not like actively mad. its just the waxing poetic about taking a step forward – and the dogshit state of the MLB catcher position – that makes it a hair frustrating
theres even 40 man roster benefits to going with Endy.
They have to make room on the 40 for any other catcher to be added. Endy’s already there.
idk what the dollar value to assign to that saved spot, but it’s ~something~.
idk what dollar value to assign to the prospect promotion initiative benefites, but it’s ~something~
idk what dollar value to assign to the extra 2 wins that endy probably gives you over Heineman/Plawecki, but it’s ~something~
Oh for the love of god, get over it.
2022 saw a historic number of Top 100 prospects make Opening Day rosters. Absolutely nobody – you included – talks about this anymore likely because of the fact that nearly every one of them got their teeth kicked in. Helped neither player nor team.
You’re on your soapbox about a stupid culture war service time issue and trying to dress it up in good organizational development when the overwhelming evidence is in favor of what the Pirates are doing.
Bullpucky. Every case is individual, so the larger percentage does not pertain, and every decision costs the player career earnings. This isn’t a video game and your use of the word “culture war” (which there is no such thing) clearly shows you won’t think about things seriously when it comes to other people’s lives. I’m guessing they are just kids playing a game and the money will come eventually. They should suck it up and “get over it”.
I’m sure you would accept not being promoted at your job over inferior tenured or senior employees without complaint.
“I’m sure you would accept not being promoted at your job over inferior tenured or senior employees without complaint.”
Ah yes, you must be a millennial or gen z.
No other generation alive is entitled enough to believe they should be promoted to the top position in their organization without having first passed the tests and gained the experience that has been proven to build good leaders.
This explains a lot about the disagreement here, thanks.
i basically am “over it”. i am probably less worked up about it than what you interpreted.
just wanted to put some stream of consciousness on the internet this morning.
i hear you. i really do. It’s just gonna be annoying when he’s magically “ready” on june 17th. i guess it’s *possible* that there’s some really good development that happens in 2 months of AAA ball.
maybe sending a guy down is more about getting guys into the full baseball swing than it’s about actual development. idk.
“It’s just gonna be annoying when he’s magically “ready” on june 17th.”
This has happened maybe once in the past 15 years and pirate fans wear it like the trauma of battered youth.
Endy has barely played baseball as a 22 yo and missed an entire season of reps at the position which historically requires the longest development path. There sure as shit is plenty for him to learn at AAA.
The questions are if the team is somehow better off with him learning those lessons in the show, and mostly in this conversation, if it is somehow “immoral” to not give him the privilege of earning big league service time to learn what 99.9% of prospects do in the minors.
You just admitted service time is the issue. What is service time?
Money. If the minor leaguers were in the union they would never have accepted this bullpucky in the first place. The players association admittedly does not protect their interests. Their new union efforts are too little too late. They will not be able to reverse this on their own.
Stop apologizing for a truly ridiculous situation. And stop bunching all the players together. It hasn’t happened “maybe once” it happened last year. It happened with coke. Cutch. Marte. On and in. June is a magic fixer if defensive skills.
How is it a truly ridiculous situation? He’s barely played in the minor leagues. When he gets to Pittsburgh, not only is there an expectation that he can hit and play defense, he has to be able to handle a pitching staff on and off the field.
Yes, this is exactly the culture war I’m talking about.
You people are on a moral crusade advocating for certain elite prospects to be given the privilege of earning major league pay for development that can and should be done in the minors.
If the minor leaguers were a union and held out to eliminate service time the owners would’ve locked them out indefinitely and they would make zero money while wasting the best years of their baseball lives.
That’s the real world, buddy.
You’re also outing yourself for this having nothing to do with actual baseball with that list you included.
Oneil Cruz was objectively awful through most of the first two months of last year. If you care at all about players earning it, then he’d be an example of successful development. Watch the godd*mn games, geez.
I hear, Cruz is a little ticked the Pirates didn’t give him a raise over minimum. Might be something he holds against management when they try to extend him. Or, it might cost the Buccos more money. Some players take personal, things the front office does.
The MLB system stinks- if guys are good enough they need to come up with a way to make it work so good players get up. Sick of the games.
The Pirates philosophy also stinks. I really don’t need to see any more retread stopgap types here when the team is going to stink. I’d rather watch prospects struggle (but learn) and win 60 games than some “wiley vets” get them up to 65. Keeping guys in the minors till they are 25 or 26 is a joke. Rich Hill, Connor Joe, Santana, Choi, the catchers, whoever the latest middle infield utility scrub is- this list goes on.
Wouldn’t you rather see the best 5-6 years of that prospect and not waste a year or two. If that prospect is truly ready at 21 or 25, I want his best years in the bigs.
Atlanta has an answer to that problem, extend your good players early, therfore keeping them through all their productive years. Spend more, get more at the end. Pirates owner wants guarentees for every dollar he spends. Just sayin!
That is good answer and I do agree, next time we have a player have a season as good as any of those player we should do it. Besides Reynolds and I have to say that I’m in the camp that the offer he turned down was not a bad offer, similar to what Atlanta gave Murphy.
No. I want him to play when he is ready because it is his right to start to earn money. This is about money. He is being denied it.
They will earn plenty.
I keep hearing Endy only has 37 games above A ball, well why? He probably could of handle a fast track approach but same old pirates, spend 34 million on mentors and not have the players who should be mentored on the 26 man roster from day one . Brilliant.
Zalinski didn’t have 1 day in AAA. JUST SAYIN.
Yeah bro nothing to do with him being 21 and missing an entire year of development from a global pandemic.
Seen guys in the show at 19 20 bro
Approximately 0.001% of baseball players in the modern era have successfully matriculated to the show at those ages.
Your argument is that the Pittsburgh Pirates, who acquired Endy Rodriguez at age 20 and did not get a chance to let him play real games until he was nearly 21 years old due to the pandemic, and have moved him from rookie ball to the show in less than 2 1/2 years.
Your argument is that the Pirates are somehow at fault for not moving him faster
My argument is that’s exceptionally dumb and it is extremely annoying to have such a huge portion of conversation on this site over the last two years buried in these ridiculous grievances.
Put your best players on the field and see what happens this year.looking like another 100 loss season and waiting 60-65 games before putting the best team on the field is not an option. Tv deal dead, season tickets sales crashed, and it business as usual. Why?
As expected, the doomers are out with the bucs making a perfectly reasonable decision to have him get some AAA time before coming up. So easy to forget that spring training numbers mean nothing whether they are good or bad
Never trust results from Spring Training or from September callups.
My argument has nothing to do with his spring training numbers whatsoever. And the argument that it is “reasonable” to give him AAA time dodges the question of whether he NEEDS it. And it doesn’t demand a process that proves he does.
If minor leaguers were allowed to join the union all along this wouldn’t happen because it can cost players millions in arbitration eligibility and progress.
It costs him real money and experience and the decision should be based on a detailed l, transparent and fair process. The doomers , you call some folks, but I’m not a doomer. I’m a big supporter of the rebuild. You claim they have knee jerk reactions when it’s actually you whonisnt giving the question serious thought. Just saying it is “reasonable”. That’s not an ok metric when you’re discussing someone’s career earning potential.
You think you’re the smartest guy in the room because others have skipped over the exceptional banal justifications for additional minor league prospect development.
Nobody in this conversation, you included, knows for a fact is Endy “needs” additional development to succeed in the show.
What we know is the Endy is very much not done developing, minor league baseball is a far more conducive environment to baseball skill development, and Endy has not been given the chance to show his remaining developmental needs aren’t best suited for AAA. That’s why he’s back there to start.
Again, super banal stuff for anyone who’s followed prospects like AdminSky. Don’t assume it’s beyond others just because it’s beyond you.
Rodriguez is one of my favorite players, but let’s be honest even his ST stats came mostly against other minor leaguers, I don’t think he started any games and mostly came in after the 4-5 th inning.
But he hit over .300 and is a hot name to grab onto right now! That diego guy at least got his chance last year after hitting bombs in ST 🙂
Comparing Endy to Diego Castillo should be banned from this discussion for lack of understanding and claiming those wanting to have Ensy play now are using spring training stats as the determining fact are creating straw men. That means lying. They are lying.
People will go to great lengths and learn as little as possible in order to maximize their own grievance and victimization.
This is such a straw man. There are completely legitimate arguments for Endy going to Pittsburgh. And there are legitimate arguments against. But you are not privy to them and have no idea the rationale for sending him down.
Endy is having money taken from his pockets. Your identity politics buzzwords “culture war” and “grievance” seem to indicate you’re of the persuasion that people should be free to earn a living. Endy isn’t.
I ask one more time whether you would quietly and happily be passed over for a big payday promotion at work for seniority / tenure or simply because the company didn’t want to pay you yet.
And if you scoff at the request to wear his shoes, it won’t surprise me. Another common attribute of folks who use buzzwords like “culture war” and “grievance” and take the conventional wisdom as gospel?
A lack of empathy.
Oh for the love of god, get over it.
You’re using phrases you don’t understand.
My comment was directly in response to a person who faulted the Pittsburgh Pirates for not promoting Endy as a 19 or 20 year old when 30 seconds of research could have easily told him why that would’ve been extremely dumb, if not impossible. That is not anywhere near the definition of a straw man, you just think it makes you sound smart to say that.
Endy will be paid in the top 1% of all incomes in 2023 regardless of where he begins the year and you’re trying to turn him into a martyr for not being handed the privilege of skipping AAA.
Endy is the perfect player to try to take advantage of the new rules. If they don’t do it now they never will. The worst part is they will now wait until super two, June maybe even July, no matter what.
Because if they give him 4 months or more they are risking him coming in 2nd or higher in ROY which means he would get the whole year anyway. He’s good enough that they will fear it.
I’m so sick of dysfunctional MLB bullpucky. This could have been fixed and the two sides just cannot give an inch. The owners are fighting over chump change in the big picture when it comes to service time. Very few prospects are good enough to make it cost them enough to worry about super two. If it was just the wait until May thing I could live with it but super two worries for every Prospect is insanity.
On the other side, the players’ leadership is old and rarely makes the prospect’s livelihood a priority.
But the worst part, in my view, is really that Endy is a legitimate ROY frontrunner if he plays 150 games, 80 at catcher. There is not only a draft pick to be had there, but a huge PR boost if the Pirates rebuild had an ROY to start off the turnaround.