Prospect Spotlight: Joely Rodriguez


Left-handed pitching prospect Joely Rodriguez was slated to begin the 2015 season in AAA with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  That was, until Cliff Lee was shut down and Rodriguez began to impress the Phillies brass.

The 6’1″, 200 pound southpaw was the return received by the Phillies in the December trade sending Antonio Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent the entire 2014 season for the Pirates AA affiliate, the Altoona Curve, going 6-11 in 30 games, 21 of those starts. He allowed 151 hits in 134 innings, with a 73-43 K:BB ratio.

More from Phillies Prospects

In parts of 6 minor league seasons, Rodriguez has appeared in 98 games, 83 of which are starts. He owns a 22-31 record with a 4.02 era and 441.1 career innings.

Now at 23 years of age, having never pitched in the Majors, Rodriguez isn’t considered a top prospect. He is not ranked among the Philles top 30 per, though Baseball America has him ranked as the Phils #24 prospect.

However, this spring in the Grapefruit League, his first performances in red pinstripes, the young Dominican has done enough to have the Phillies taking a longer look at what he might be able to offer.

He’s a young kid who has that ingredient we talk about in professional baseball.  He has that inner ‘it’, as we call it, that zeal to compete, that zeal to have a hunger.” ~ Ray Burris

Rodriguez has a competitiveness that has been noticed by GM Ruben Amaro, as reported by Jake Kaplan at “”He’s thrown well. He seems like he’s pretty confident. Really, honestly, it’s an open competition. We’ll see who kind of steps up and takes the ball.

His fall league pitching coach, Ray Burris offered up some kind remarks of his own: “He’s a young kid who has that ingredient we talk about in professional baseball. He has that inner ‘it’, as we call it, that zeal to compete, that zeal to have a hunger. This is what I saw in the fall league out of this young man. He’s a great kid to work with, good makeup, good teammate, comes out and competes, and those are ingredients that add up to a good formula as far as being able to perform well at any level.

Rodriguez doesn’t have a blazing fastball or a wicked hook that makes opposing hitters’ knees buckle.  What he does have is a confident presence about him on the mound, and all of his pitches have movement to them.

His fastball sinks enough to frequently keep the ball on the ground.  His slider compliments the fastball, getting left-handed hitters to chase the pitch out of the strike zone while riding in on righthanders.  Those are the 2 pitches that he’s relied upon for the most of his career.  He does mix in a change every once in awhile, but it still needs further work.

If he starts off at Lehigh Valley, as is still most likely, it would stand to reason that there will be an emphasis to work on further developing that changeup. There may also be an attempt to potentially work on another pitch.

At his age, and with having only the two solid pitches at this point, it’s hard to believe that he will be any more than a back-end starter or a relief option.  Who knows, maybe in a year or two, fans of the Fightins’ may see him in a setup role or closing out games in a Phillies uniform. And just maybe, they may see him even soon, starting in the Phillies rotation.