Despite some rumblings that we wouldn’t know who Seattle would receive from the Blue Jays in the Taijuan Walker deal for some time, we in fact have confirmation today!
Alberto Rodríguez, still just nineteen years old, was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $500,000 in 2017, hailing from Cotuí - coincidentally, Mariners top prospect Noelvi Marte’s hometown, who Rodríguez appears to be friendly with if Instagram tells us anything. He has yet to break out of rookie ball, which is unsurprising given his age, but enjoyed a strong 2019 with Toronto’s Gulf Coast League team, slashing a solid .301/.364/.422 over nearly two hundred plate appearances, with a walk rate hovering right around double digits. While he’s put up strong base stealing numbers in both the Dominican Summer League and GCL - including 13 steals and an 86.6% SB% last season - his speed grades out as pretty average, and one should expect those numbers to drop in full-season ball. His ability to play center field is also in question, as he’s spent nearly every game in the Blue Jays org in right, though given his age, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Seattle try him in center every so often, especially because his arm is considered above-average.
Power remains the question for Rodríguez, and his success going forward will hinge on that. Despite a nice GCL showing, he put up an ISO of just .121, not much better than his 2018 mark of .114 in the DSL. While FanGraphs describes him as “a physical, lefty corner bat with some thump” and is kind to his raw power, his current game power grades out at just 25 there, and that’s going to have to make some significant jumps once he moves to A-ball. At just 5’11” and 180 pounds, it’s not unlikely that he’ll fill out a little more and to able to tap into his pop as he gets a bit older. THE BOARD has him ranked as the Blue Jays’ 20th-best prospect, and with an FV of 40, he’s likely to slide somewhere in the back half of Seattle’s Top 30, though probably no lower than around 25th.
At just nineteen and having yet to play full-season ball, Alberto Rodríguez has little to no impact on the sudden oncoming outfield logjam of Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley, Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodríguez, and Taylor Trammell. Should we have normal MiLB operations in 2021, I wouldn’t be surprised to either see him start with the West Virginia Power or be held in extended spring training until Everett kicks their season off. In any case, it should be fun to see Rodríguez add some more swagger to an org that is chock full of it.