Player: Jose Rodriguez
Height: 5’11 Weight: 175 Age: 21 Bats/Throws: R/R Current Level: AA-Birmingham
MLB.com Rank: 3rd in White Sox System
Signed: 2017-18 International Signing Period
Hometown: Valverde, Dominican Republic
The White Sox signed Jose Rodriguez back in the 2017-18 international signing period for just $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic, so to be this high on prospect list is already a good return on that investment. He’s not all that big at 5’11, 175 pounds and that’s likely why he wasn’t very highly regarded coming out of the DR.
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The tool that has shot Rodriguez up the White Sox prospect lists is his hitting. His bat control and ability to make contact are what allowed him to hit .297 through Rookie-ball, Single-A and High-A in 870 at-bats from 2018 to 2021. He’s also shown some power, particularly on pitches down and in. Rodriguez hit 25 home runs over those 870 at-bats to begin his professional career.
The big question with Rodriguez is his plate discipline. He’s shown a tendency to swing at everything. He has just a 4.4% walk rate in his career to go with a 17.3% strikeout rate. That approach is very similar to one of Rodriguez’s idols: free swinger and former Cub Javy Baez.
Since reaching Double-A, pitchers have begun to pitch to Rodriguez’s weakness: up in the zone and out of the zone completely and Rodriguez has struggled. In 206 plate appearances in 2022 at Double-A, Rodriguez has just one home run and has the lowest slugging percentage of his career (below).
Double-A is the level that can give hitters trouble as pitchers not only begin to know your weaknesses but also have the ability to exploit them. We’ll see how Rodriguez is able to adapt and hopefully progress at the plate.
Defensively, Rodriguez has average range and his footwork and accuracy still need more work for him to stay at that position. He may be able to stay at short in the long run, but many believe he is a better fit at second.
Due to his impressive bat to ball skills and ability to really turn and drive those balls down and in, he’s still near the top of White Sox prospect lists. Still very young at 21, there’s definitely still time to improve his plate discipline and with that the power will show. It’s taking some time for him at Double-A, but if he can improve in that area, he could provide some depth with pop at the major league level.