Hard-throwing Texan shoots up draft boards
It seems like a big hard-throwing right-hander from Texas appears in every draft class. For the 2018 MLB draft that man is Grayson Rodriguez, right-hander from Central Heights High School in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Rodriguez was known to scouts for his successful high school and showcase performances where he showed an intriguing low-90s fastball. Nine months ago the thinking was that he was rather raw, would probably attend college at Texas A&M, develop further and be an early pick in the 2021 draft.
That timetable has moved up.
He was a different pitcher this spring, with better physical conditioning boosting his fastball and improving his game all-around. He’s up to 96-98 peak velocities now and works at 93-94. A previously-slurvy breaking ball has developed into two distinct pitches, a hard power slider and a slower but convincingly bendy curve.
There’s a change-up, too, and while it isn’t as advanced as the breaking stuff it projects as a solid pitch. His mechanics are more consistent this year and his command is good for his age. Mound presence and maturity under pressure are also positives and it doesn’t take much imagination to see him as a future number two starter.
Rodriguez has moved into first-round status and some observers like him as much, if not more, than arms like Ethan Hankins and Carter Stewart who received more pre-spring attention. It appears quite unlikely that Rodriguez will get to college at this point.
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