The Mariners have officially made their first signing of the free agency period: infielder Brett Rodriguez from tiny Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. (Fun fact: Wofford’s mascot is the Terriers, and it’s as adorable as you think it might be.) Wofford is a D-1 school and competes in the Southern Conference, same as Mercer University, alma mater of one Kyle Lewis. Rodriguez, a native of Queensbury, NY, was actually set to transfer to Creighton University next year as a graduate transfer (in total, four of the members of Wofford’s baseball team had entered the transfer portal). Instead he’ll get his professional baseball career started, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Rodriguez, listed simply as an infielder on the school’s website, played all over the diamond at Wofford, where he’s a capable defender able to make the occasional splash play (check the highlight video at the end). He’s also a threat one the bases, setting the school record for stolen bases over his time at Wofford, with 85 (he had 33 alone in his junior year). Look at him go!
PROGRAM RECORD BROKEN— Wofford Baseball (@WoffordBaseball) March 8, 2020
BRETT RODRIGUEZ STEALS HIS 85TH CAREER BASE! pic.twitter.com/BmI3B81OqD
Rodriguez was a productive hitter at Wofford, with a career .300 average, and possesses strong plate discipline, walking (122) almost as many times as he struck out (135) in 623 career ABs. He doesn’t possess much over-the-fence power, as is typical of this profile, but can use his plus speed and baserunning acumen to turn singles into doubles. In Rodriguez’s junior year, his most productive year, he only hit five home runs, but notched 14 doubles as well as three triples. Also, one of those home runs came at a pretty key moment:
Rodriguez lists his favorite book as The Mental Game of Baseball and it certainly shows in how he plays; while he is fast, he’s also instinctual and aware on the bases, able to blend his plus speed and game awareness to pressure defenses and take advantage of the other team’s miscues.
BRETT RODRIGUEZ HAS WHEELS— Wofford Baseball (@WoffordBaseball) March 14, 2019
TIE BALL GAME‼️ pic.twitter.com/0NY9cODy4S
Those miscues will be harder to come by in pro ball, but the toolsy “B-Rod” still has plenty of skills with which to affect a game. For a longer look at his career at Wofford, check out this highlight video made by my new favorite person on the internet: