2012 in brief: 2nd round pick shot through system to become first member of entire 2012 draft class to reach the bigs and impressed in limited opportunities.
2013 status: Could make roster right out of camp depending on numbers game, but if healthy is almost guaranteed to see big league time at some point.
How can I talk about expectations when not a soul among us had ever even heard of Paco Rodriguez prior to June, when he was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round out of the University of Florida? He was, of course, identified right away as the draftee most likely to reach the bigs the soonest, but it was still surprising when he managed to do so after just 19.2 innings at Great Lakes and Chattanooga.
Rodriguez came up when rosters expanded in September and got into 11 games, though rarely in pressure situations or for more than two or three batters at a time. Still, he acquitted himself well, striking out six and allowing just three singles, flashing a decent fastball, usable cutter, and improving slider.
Paco’s never going to be a star – non-closer relievers rarely are – and his quick ascent to the bigs is largely due to his age and his position, not because he’s a better prospect than, say, Mike Zunino or Byron Buxton. That said, his brief time in the bigs showed that he belonged, and expect him to be a low-cost lefty option for Los Angeles for years to come. Whether or not he makes the team on Opening Day next year may depend on how many competitors he has (“having options” always hurts in that battle), but regardless we’ll be seeing plenty of him.
Next up! Randy Choate signed for how much with St. Louis, really?