Grayson Rodriguez

23-Year-Old PitcherSP
Baltimore Orioles AAA
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Rodriguez, likely the most famous prospect-eligible pitcher, exited his 11th Triple-A start June 1 with a Grade 2 lat strain. Up to that point, the revered 6-foot-5 righty logged a 2.09 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 80:14 K:BB in 56 innings. By all accounts, Rodriguez would have made his big-league debut in June had he stayed healthy. He missed exactly three months and returned for a rehab assignment and three more Triple-A starts to close the season. Understandably rusty, Rodriguez posted a 4.12 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and walked as many batters (14) in 19.2 innings as he did in the 56 innings before he got hurt. At full health, Rodriguez's arsenal is beyond reproach, boasting several pitches that grade as at least plus. The shoulder injury and subsequent middling performance to close the year represented his first major road bump as a pro. It remains to be seen how he will bounce back, but the market already views him as a borderline top-200 pick in super early drafts. The Orioles' team context is much better than it once was, as the home park is now a good place to pitch and Rodriguez will be throwing to all-world catcher/leader Adley Rutschman. Rodriguez totaled 75.2 innings in 2022 so targeting him in fantasy is a quality over quantity bet in 2023. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a $4.3 million contract with the Orioles in June of 2018.
Officially optioned to Triple-A
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
March 27, 2023
Baltimore optioned Rodriguez to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday, Steve Melewski of reports.
Multiple reports earlier Monday indicated that Rodriguez wasn't going to be part of the Orioles' Opening Day rotation, and now he's officially been sent down to the minors. While the top prospect endured some struggles this spring, the odds are good that he'll get off to a strong start with Norfolk and join the O's rotation sooner rather than later.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The best pitcher who has yet to pitch in the majors, Rodriguez has a chance to join Baltimore's rotation sometime in the first half of the season. He didn't belong at High-A, where he opened the season, so we can essentially ignore what he did there in five starts as a 21-year-old with a bevy of monster pitch offerings and plus control. His 18-start run at Double-A was a tour de force, as he logged a 2.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 31.9 K-BB% in 79.2 innings. Rodriguez only threw more than five innings in a start once, as the Orioles limited him to 103 innings on the season. The 6-foot-5 righty's mid-to-high 90s fastball, low-80s slider and changeup grade out as borderline 70-grade offerings, and his fourth pitch is an above-average curveball. We have to be careful not to get too carried away with a pitching prospect of his ilk, as there's not much difference between his scouting report and the peak scouting reports of players like Alex Reyes, Forrest Whitley and MacKenzie Gore. That said, if Rodriguez stays healthy, he has a shot to be one of the best young pitchers in the game as early as 2023. Risk averse dynasty managers may want to explore cashing him out this offseason.
Rodriguez looks the part of a front-of-the-rotation horse, sitting in the mid-to-upper-90s with his fastball while standing an imposing 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. Selected out of a Texas high school with the 11th overall pick of the 2018 draft, not much about Rodriguez's profile has changed since then, but he has stayed healthy and has improved on the finer points of pitching. He projects to have three average or better secondary pitches, but there isn't a clear hierarchy in terms of which offspeed pitch (or pitches) will emerge as putaway offerings at the highest level. He has steadily improved his changeup and his slider might be his best current offspeed pitch, but it all hinges on his dominant fastball. If he locates that pitch consistently, he should develop into at least a mid-rotation starter, and if his secondary offerings trend up, Rodriguez could be the Orioles' Opening Day starter in a couple years.
Rodriguez passed his full-season debut with flying colors, leading the Sally League in K% (34.2) and K-BB% (24.7). The 6-foot-5, 220-pound righty was the third-youngest pitcher on the circuit and dominated Low-A hitters with a complete four-pitch arsenal that he commands well for a young pitcher his size. His mid-90s fastball (touches 98 mph) is a heavy offering with late life, while his curveball and slider each have a chance to be plus pitches. Rodriguez's changeup improved in pro ball and could be an above-average fourth pitch. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 draft had three five-inning starts with 10 strikeouts, illustrating just how dominant he can be when everything is working. It would be nice if his command improved a little, but realistically the main obstacle to him becoming at least a No. 2 starter will just be dodging a significant injury on his march to the big leagues.
For over a decade, the Orioles were the butt of jokes when it came to drafting and developing pitching prospects. They earned it. However, over the last two years they appear to be on the right track to shedding that notoriety. DL Hall, their 2017 first-round pick, and Rodriguez, their 2018 first-round pick, exhibit frontline starter traits and neither has suffered a catastrophic injury since entering Orioles custody. Rodriguez, who received a $4.3 million bonus after the Orioles selected him with the No. 11 overall pick, showcased a mid-90s fastball with late life as a Texas high schooler, but was sitting in the low-90s after signing. Velocity swings of a couple mph are not unusual for teenagers, but he will need to recapture his amateur velocity to reach his ceiling. He features a couple distinct breaking balls that could each become plus pitches down the road, and a developing changeup. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, he is equipped to eat innings.
More Fantasy News
Won't be in Opening Day rotation
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
March 27, 2023
Rodriguez will not be part of the Orioles' Opening Day roster, Andy Kostka of TheBaltimore reports.
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Struggles in spring start
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
March 18, 2023
Rodriguez was charged for five runs -- two earned -- over 3.2 innings of work Saturday in a Grapefruit League start against the Red Sox.
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Set for spring debut Thursday
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
February 28, 2023
Rodriguez (lat) will make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday versus the Tigers, Roch Kubatko of reports.
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Good bet for Opening Day rotation
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
January 29, 2023
Orioles GM Mike Elias said Sunday he expects Rodriguez to make the team's Opening Day starting rotation, Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports.
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Shielded from Rule 5 draft
PBaltimore Orioles  AAA
November 15, 2022
Rodriguez was added to the Orioles' 40-man roster Tuesday.
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