Baltimore Orioles’ top prospect, catcher Chance Sisco won the 2016 Orioles Minor League Player of the Year award, but many don’t realize that first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez was a very close competitor for the honor. After a monster 2016 season, Rodriguez is backing up that performance thus far in 2017.
Rodriguez, 25, is originally from the Dominican Republic and was signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent prior to last season. It didn’t take long after the 2016 season ended for the O’s to quickly re-sign Rodriguez to another minor league deal.
With the High-A Frederick Keys all of last season, Rodriguez hit .304 with 26 home runs, 23 doubles, six triples, 93 RBI and scored 71 runs in 130 games. He also posted a .359 OBP and a .891 OPS. He led all Orioles minor leaguers in home runs and RBI, while also finishing in the top four in the Carolina League in slugging percentage, total bases, hits, home runs, extra-base hits, batting average and RBI.
It was a monster year, there’s no denying it, but the question was whether or not he could back it up in 2017, especially moving up to AA Bowie.
So far so good.
Over 37 games with the Baysox, Rodriguez is hitting .289 with six home runs, eight doubles, 24 RBI and has scored 19 runs. He also owns a .356 OBP and a .828 OPS.
He is currently tied for fifth in the Eastern League in home runs, while also ranking tied for fourth in RBI.
I’ve personally seen him play a number of times, and he is one of those guys where the ball just sounds different coming off of his bat. He has great raw power and his hands are very quick through the zone.
There is a log-jam at first base at AAA, but I would not be surprised to see Rodriguez make his way to Norfolk if he keeps hitting the way he has over the past 14 months. It’s important to note that over his minor league career, he has actually played more games at third base than first base, though since coming to the Orioles’ organization, he’s served mostly as a first baseman. Keep an eye on Rodriguez, you’ll be glad you did.
By: Josh Michael