Next up on the San Francisco Giants season reviews is right-handed pitcher Dereck Rodríguez.
2 games (0 starts), 4 innings, 10 hits, 3 walks, 0 hit by pitch, 2 home runs, 2 strikeouts, 3.250 WHIP
13.50 ERA, 10.94 FIP, -0.3 rWAR, -0.2 fWAR
Status throughout the season
Rodríguez started the season at the Alternate Training Site in Sacramento. He was recalled on Aug. 12, and optioned on Aug. 17. He was designated for assignment on Aug. 26, and claimed by the Detroit Tigers.
Truth be told, it felt like the writing was on the wall for Rodríguez before the start of the 2019 season. He had a surprisingly wonderful rookie season in 2018, recording 2.4 rWAR and 1.8 fWAR. But he dramatically outperformed the peripherals. His ERA was nearly a full point below his FIP, his BABIP was unsustainably low, and he was striking out just 6.77 batters per nine innings.
At the risk of sounding harsh towards a very lovable player, he felt like a player that an old school front office would ride and a modern one would dismiss. And in full disclosure: no, this is not an opinion I stated at the time. Quite the opposite. My optimism is corruptive, I’ll admit.
When Farhan Zaidi took over in 2019, it felt like Rodríguez would have to prove himself all over again, and he struggled in his attempts to do so, and ended up having a very rough year. I half expected him to be let go of over the offseason, but he was there at Spring Training, and again at Summer Camp.
But the leash was short. When he was finally recalled he struggled mightily, and that was that. He gave up 5 baserunners and 1 run in 2.1 innings in his first appearance of the year, and 8 baserunners and 5 runs in 1.2 innings in his second appearance of the year, and there was no third appearance of the year.
There’s not much to say. His fastballs weren’t setting up his breaking balls, and they weren’t fast enough to power by hitters. He threw 92 pitches on the year, and earned a swinging strike on just three of them. That’s a death sentence when your front office is a modern one.
It’s a weird thing to watch a player who you know is likely to be waived given one final chance, and struggle. You know what’s going to happen, and you know they know as well. And you know their teammates and coaches know, too.
It’s weird, and not aided by the fact that Rodríguez was incredibly likable and easy to root for.
But so it goes.
Role in 2021
Rodríguez won’t be playing for the Giants in 2021, but he’ll likely be facing them. He signed a Minor League deal with the Colorado Rockies, and we’ll likely see him on the mound at Coors Field.
How would you grade Dereck Rodríguez’s season?
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