Sep 25, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Yorman Rodriguez (33) reaches safely at second base as Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura (9) goes for the ball in the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Just 33 days separate us from the start of the Cincinnati Reds’ Spring Training on February 18, when pitchers and catchers report, and it’s a perfect time to take a glimpse into the team’s future. The Number 33 man on our countdown team is outfield prospect Yorman Rodriguez.
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The Reds signed Rodriguez to an amateur contract out of Venezuela in 2008, and he has spent the last six season working his way up Cincinnati’s minor league system, topping out (so far) at Double-A Pensacola at the end of 2013 and throughout 2014.
The book on Rodriguez is that he may have the most pure talent in the Reds’ system, but that he is raw and has trouble laying off breaking pitches. As a result, he strikes out a ton and doesn’t walk enough, as evidence by his 117 whiffs and 47 free passes at Pensacola last year. To that unpleasant mix, he did add nine home runs and 12 steals in 17 attempts, but the general hunch is that his offensive numbers should improve as (and if) his plate discipline does, and as he matures.
Rodriguez won’t turn 22 until August, so time is on his side. After a late-season call-up to the Reds in 2014, Triple-A Louisville is likely his next stop.
Yorman’s future, if it is to be with the Reds, will likely include plenty of playing time at a corner outfield spot since Billy Hamilton is already blazing the CF grass on the Riverfront. If both of these guys can come close to reaching their potential, much of the Reds’ offensive woes could be forgotten within the next four or five years.