PP 2004 Scouting Report: 2B, Rafael Rodriguez
2B, Rafael Rodriguez
2B, Rafael Rodriguez

Posted Jan 18, 2004


Rafael Rodriguez was assigned to the Gulf Coast Yankees for the 2003 season. In the season prior he played in the Dominican Republic Summer League much like many other Yankee prospects have as well. Several scouts noted that he had potential for a very high ceiling but was still incredibly raw. After completing his first season in the Gulf Coast League scouts believed that he showed a lot of progress during his first minor league campaign. (Free Preview Of Premium Content)

Vital Statistics:
Name: Rafael Rodriguez
Positon: Second Base
DOB: January 11, 1984
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Rodriguez was assigned to the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2003 after a strong season in The Dominican Summer League.

At this point in time, it is much too early to tell exactly what kind of player Rodriguez could turn out to be despite his endless raw talents. Many scouts are also considering the idea that could Rodriguez become the next of a new generation of power hitting middle infielders. He put together a decent 2003 season in the Gulf Coast league but several scouts have commented that his potential is very broadly based on only a short period of time.

What has impressed scouts the most about Rodriguez the is his ability to drive in runs with frequency and consistency. In 2003, he led the Gulf Coast Yankees with 29 runs driven in. He was also among the team leaders in hits with 49, second only to star Yankee prospect Eric Duncan’s 50. Rodriguez along with Eric Duncan led the team throughout the season in most offensive categories. There were even days where backup second baseman Adam Unger was playing and the clutch, run producing bat of Rodriguez was kept in the lineup at DH. Many sources close to the team saw Rafael Rodriguez as a source of stability and consistency in the lineup. So many scouts are hoping and believing that Rodriguez will continue to progress and keep showing signs of his knack for clutch hitting and producing runs. If these accomplishments are met he will certainly move quickly through the Yankee system.

Any player that plays in the Gulf Coast League is already very hard to scout because of their overall and natural raw ability. Rodriguez, in only his first season has shown immense talent but scouts do not want to rush him or jump to any conclusions on the extent of his talent.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

GCL Yankees

.258

190

11

4

29

23

2

8

27

.295

.411


*Stats as of 9/7/03

Batting and Power. Several advanced scouts around the league seem to have a strong sense that Rodriguez has shown the potential to be a very strong offensive force and could be a big league star with the proper development. One area where scouts suggest improvement in Rodriguez’s game is his lack of patience at the plate. Rodriguez managed only 8 walks in the 2003 in 190 at bats. He has shown slightly better than adequate power in his first season but could be seasoned into a consistent power threat. Rodriguez has gap to gap type power and was the teams best run producer in the 2003 season.

Base Running and Speed. In his rookie campaign in the Gulf Coast League, Rodriguez showed adequate speed but sources near the team say that he adds to that with smart base running.

Defense. The second baseman has some improving to do as an infielder scouts say. At some points during the season, Rodriguez was reduced to the DH duties and replaced with Adam Unger at second base. In order to continue his development this is an area to be improved upon for Rafael Rodriguez.

Projection. Right now, it appears that Rodriguez could have the skills to be a true big league player but it is much to early to tell.  If he continues to develop his offensive skills and improve upon his defense he could become a very solid Major League middle infielder.

ETA. N/A. Rafael Rodriguez is still somewhat of a project. His maturation at the plate and in the field over the next season or two will determine his ETA to the Majors. He will in all probability start the 2004 season with Staten Island.

Second Basemen

2003 Team

Craig Wilson

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Andy Phillips

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Robinson Cano

AA - Trenton Thunder

Erick Macha A - Tampa Yankees
George Sterner A - Tampa Yankees
Enrique Cruz A - Staten Island Yankees
Adam Shorts A - Staten Island Yankees
Rafael Rodriguez R - Gulf Coast Yankees
Adam Unger R - Gulf Coast Yankees


COMMENTS


1. Craig Wilson - Wilson is a non-prospect. The former White Sox farmhand played in 139 major-league games from 1998 to 2000 and hit .272 with decent peripherals. The 33-year old right-hander hit .266 with seven homeruns and 52 runs scored in 2003 for the Clippers. He could be a backup infielder for the Yankees should they require one next season as he can play second base, third or shortstop.

2. Andy Phillips - Had a breakout season in 2002 at AA, posting a .999 OPS in 272 at bats and earning Yankees Minor League Player of the Year. Originally projected as a possible starting third baseman (his original position in college). Since being promoted to AAA, however, he has stumbled. Limited defensively, Phillips hit .209 in just 17 games this season due to injury.

3. Enrique Cruz - Yankees' 14th round draft pick in 2003. Posted 1.021 OPS in final year of college with Rice University. Batted .285 in 130 at bats with Staten Island and had excellent peripherals (.70 BB:K ratio), but slugging percentage took a hit at just .385. 7 errors in 31 games this season. 22-year old still needs to develop.

4. Adam Shorts - Hit just .208 with 55 strikeouts in 202 at bats for Staten Island, also committed 20 errors.

5. Adam Unger - Yankees' 29th round draft pick in 2003. Went 2/24 in just 16 games for the GCL Yanks. 18-year old switch hitter needs more experience and to fill out his frame (5'8", 150 lbs).

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