2020 season age: 26 – Throws: Right – Bats: Right – Contract: – Pre-Arb (Salary not reported)
2019 in review: While Adam Plutko was recovering from a forearm strain in spring training, Jefry Rodriguez got the call with the Indians losing Mike Clevinger early and then Corey Kluber. While he wasn’t spectacular, he gave the Indians league average production and had some good moments before he too went down with a shoulder injury. In 46.2 innings in Cleveland, Rodriguez had 33 strikeouts with 21 walks in 10 appearances, eight of which were starts. He had a 4.63 ERA. In 21.2 innings at Triple-A he struck out 16 and walked 11 with a 4.15 ERA.
Beyond the stats: His success was a little surprising with a 16 K% and a 10 BB%, which goes to his 4.54 FIP and a 5.11 xFIP. Running a 48.6% ground ball rate doesn’t hurt to mitigate the lack of missing bats. He did have a little luck with the batted ball profile overall, as he was in the fifth percentile in exit velocity and fourth percentile in hard hit rate. He was in the 59th percentile in fastball spin, so there is a skill that can perhaps help Rodriguez going forward with his pitch mix and usage.
On the mound: In addition to his four seamer, Rodriguez uses his sinker primarily (39.7% of the time) with a curveball and changeup as well. As with pretty much every pitcher in 2019, Rodriguez gave up the most damage with his sinker (.367 wOBA), but the average launch angle against it was a flat zero, as it helps him run that high ground ball rate. He got a little lucky on the lack of damage on his fastball in 2019 (.288 wOBA-.321 xwOBA). His curveball, despite having a low spin rate, had a .218 wOBA against and just a .252 xwOBA. His changeup got beat like an Astros trash can with a .565 wOBA. Really, his two fastball’s and his curveball would play up better in the bullpen with some added velocity.
2020 role: The Indians rotation looks set on paper with health if the Indians opt to keep their depth by making Adam Plutko the fifth starter and then letting Aaron Civale or Zach Plesac battle for the other spot and sending the other back to Triple-A, so there probably isn’t room in the Indians rotation. The AAA rotation however, could be Plesac/Civale and Logan Allen along with Sam Hentges and Triston McKenzie at some point in 2020. Rodriguez is probably going to remain a rotation option in the interest of depth, but depending on how things play out this year, maybe the Indians consider shifting him to the bullpen where he might be better suited. But most likely he’s going to be in Triple-A and might now be the third starter depth option to start 2020 assuming everyone is healthy.
Fantasy impact: Rodriguez didn’t miss enough bats as a starter last year to warrant anything other than a streaming option to provide innings in 2019. Given the Indians current rotation depth, he’s probably slated for the Triple-A rotation, which makes him a non-fantasy option in 2020. He’s more suited for a bullpen role, but even if that’s the case, the Indians have Brad Hand, James Karinchak, Emmanuel Clase, Nick Wittgren and a few others in front of him on the depth chart due to age and options as well, so there’s no role where Rodriguez looks to add to your fantasy pitching staff in 2020.