One name in baseball that’s seemingly gone under the radar is Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.
Of course, being part of a rotation that includes Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price—can do that.
Pitching in his third major league season, the 24-year-old southpaw is well on his way to his best one yet. Through 10 games (nine starts), he’s 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA—currently ninth best in the AL. In addition, his .209 BAA ranks sixth and 1.12 WHIP ranks 10th (league leaders as of May 29).
His lone relief appearance came on April 19 at Toronto, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. Rodriguez had just been returning from paternity leave that day.
Dating back to April 23, Rodriguez has recorded a quality start in all seven attempts while going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA (11 ER/44 IP). Four of those seven starts have seen him allow one or zero earned runs (twice for each).
Friday night vs Seattle was Rodriguez’s first start this year in which he’s failed to record at least five strikeouts. Instead, he punched out four in six scoreless frames for his third win in as many starts.
Initially signing with the Orioles as an international free agent in January 2010 when he was just 16, Rodriguez quickly rose through the system. By the start of 2014, he was the third best prospect in Baltimore’s organization and 65th best in baseball.
Boston acquired Rodriguez from Baltimore at the 2014 trading deadline in exchange for lefty specialist Andrew Miller, who had a 2.34 ERA and 14.67 Ks-per-nine in 50 games for the Red Sox through that point in the season.
Rodriguez made his major league debut in 2015 on May 28 at Texas, and it was quite historic to say the least. He remained in Boston’s rotation for the rest of the year, ending his rookie season with a 10-6 record and 3.85 ERA in 21 starts.
The lefty’s rookie campaign didn’t come without struggles, as he posted a 6.40 ERA in 11 starts from June 14 to August 12. However, he bounced back in his final seven with a 2.08—dropping his season ERA nearly a full run.
Starting 2016 on the disabled list with a knee injury, Rodriguez returned on May 31 and recorded an 8.59 ERA (10.03 in June) after six starts. After surrendering nine earned runs in 2 2/3 innings at Tampa Bay on June 27, he was optioned to Pawtucket.
Returning on July 16, Rodriguez posted a 3.24 ERA over 14 starts to lower his season ERA to 4.71—ending 2016 on an encouraging note.
With his success so far this season, it’s evident Rodriguez is continuing to mature and come into his own. This can even be supported with his improved walks-per-nine from April to May (5.40 to 1.97).
Seems like becoming a father has done nothing but make him a better and more confident pitcher.
The next scheduled start for Rodriguez is this Thursday in Baltimore. In six career starts at Camden Yards, he’s 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA (5 ER/33 2/3 IP). His six shutout frames on April 23 of this year started his current run of quality starts, despite issuing a career high five walks in the game (also allowed five on October 1 of last season).