There have been numerous big-time, high school arms over the years that have come out of the state of Texas. This year’s draft class has a healthy amount once again, led by 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.
Grayson Rodriguez 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Rodriguez attends Central Springs High School in Nacogdoches, Texas and led them to a state title last year. He worked in the low-90s last season and has seen his velocity skyrocket to the mid-90s this year. The 18-year old is currently ranked 22nd among MLB.com’s top prospects for next week’s draft. He is committed to Texas A&M but chances are Rodriguez will be off the boards in the first round and forego college.
This year Rodriguez has worked at 92-95 MPH with his heater, and he will ramp it up to 97-98 at times. He throws from a three quarters arm slot and gets a tremendous downhill plane on hitters thanks to his tall frame. He also features a hard slider and mid 70s curveball, with the slider being the better of the two. Rodriguez has not needed to use the changeup much against high school opponents, but he does show the potential to throw one. The curveball is a knee-buckling offering that Rodriguez has shown he can throw consistently for strikes. The slider is a pitch with very sharp break and has been his best off-speed pitch this year. He’s a decent athlete who has a very smooth, effortless delivery on the mound. Rodriguez weighs in at 230 pounds, and according to MLB.com, he has dropped 25 pounds since last season. An intense conditioning program has helped Rodriguez become a possible first-round pick in this year’s draft. For a hard thrower, he has very good command. He consistently throws strikes and has all the makings of a future big league starting pitcher.
Big league comparison
Rodriguez is very similar to Yankees reliever Dellin Betances. He is a few inches shorter than the 6-foot-8 Betances, but he has a very similar delivery. Rodriguez throws hard effortlessly, just like Betances. His best off-speed pitch is a hard slider, which is also one of Betances best pitches. Rodriguez has an extremely high ceiling given he is only 18-years old. There are absolutely no doubts that he could one day throw consistently in the high 90’s just like Betances. Rodriguez definitely profiles as a number one or two in a big league rotation, especially if he continues to have outstanding command. If he ever does turn into a reliever, he could have some very electric stuff.
Like mentioned above, he committed himself to losing 25 pounds and turning fat into muscle. That is a serious testament to Rodriguez’s character. He is a hard-working young man who wants to get better. Talent is obviously the number one thing big league scouts look for in young prospects. Their attitude and character are just as important though. If you see how much he increased his velocity from last year to this year, that alone shows that Rodriguez is fully invested in improving each and every day. He was topping out at 92 MPH last year, and now he’s touching the upper 90’s.
Rodriguez should be off the boards within the first 20-25 picks of Monday’s first round and looks to be one of the best high school arms available in this year’s draft.
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