Birdland is about ready to come apart at the seams. After the controversial move to start Grayson Rodriguez in Triple-A Norfolk instead of with the big league club, the debate has raged on as to why.
Overlooked was that Rodriguez gave up 14 runs (11 earned) in his last 10.2 innings of work during spring. He struggled to get through the lineup a second time and could not escape the fourth inning.
Of course, Rodriguez’s first start for the Tides showed that GM Mike Elias might have made the correct call.
In his first start of the season, Rodriguez would last four innings. He allowed four hits, walked four and gave up three runs (two earned), throwing 75 pitches (48 strikes).
As if the Baseball Gods weren’t pleased with the decision, Kyle Bradish would be hit with a line drive off his right foot at 104 mph. He would leave the game with what would later be classified as a contusion.
Tyler Wells, Tuesday night’s original starter, volunteered to pitch and help save the bullpen. After he led the Birds to victory, the Orioles were left with a hole, and the solution was that Kyle Gibson would start Tuesday, leaving no starter for Wednesday’s series finale.
Baseball America’s No. 7 prospect became the topic of discussion, and as reports came out, it was confirmed that Rodriguez not only got the call but would make the start Wednesday afternoon in Arlington.
The 23-year-old phenom was born in Houston and attended high school in Nacogdoches, Texas. This acts as sort of a homecoming and redemption point in young Rodriguez’s career.
A right lat strain derailed Rodriguez’s chance to debut last season. After missing three months, the right-hander returned to pitch in three games to end the season.
Over his career, Rodriguez is 25-9 in 70 games (69 starts). He possesses a 2.49 ERA in 296 innings pitched while striking out 421 to 102 walks. Opponents hit just .174 against Rodriguez, and his WHIP stands at 0.960.
Rodriguez possesses an overpowering fastball that is complemented by one of the best changeups in the minors. He also throws an above average slider and a curveball to compliment his arsenal.
Will Rodriguez show why he is the top right-handed pitching prospect in baseball, or will he show that Elias knew what he was doing, sending him down to start the year? Birdland is going to find out that the Grayson Rodriguez era starts now.
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