2018 MLB Draft preview: Grayson Rodriguez scouting report.
With the 2018 MLB Draft less than two weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 4, 2018 — its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #15 and their second round pick is at #55 — they have no compensatory picks this year.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first two picks. Today, we are looking at Texas high school pitcher Grayson Rodriguez.
Grayson Rodriguez is a huge righthanded pitcher out of Central Heights High School in Nacogdoches, Texas, who has a commitment to Texas A&M University for the fall. Rodriguez is listed at 6’5”, 230 lbs., very big for a high schooler, and his weight reflects that he has slimmed down and improved his conditioning heading into his senior season, with Fangraphs saying he has lost 25 pounds since last year. Rodriguez has a big time fastball, touching 98 mph and sitting in the mid-90s, with BA calling it a potential 70 grade pitch and MLB Pipeline putting it at 65. Rodriguez also throws a slider and a curve, and has a change up that is behind those other pitches.
Baseball America has Rodriguez ranked #24 on their Top 500 draft list, while Fangraphs has Rodriguez at #23 on their board. MLB Pipeline has Rodriguez at #28 on their rankings, though they say he shows the potential to have an average changeup while invoking Forrest Whitley in talking about Rodriguez as a Texas pitcher who has shot up the boards after improving his conditioning heading into his senior year. Keith Law, meanwhile, has him at #18.
There’s a big split on Rodriguez in the mock drafts — while Law has Rodriguez going at #10, to the Pittsburgh Pirates, in his latest mock draft, Fangraphs has Rodriguez dropping to the Kansas City Royals at #34. Both Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America, meanwhile, have Rodriguez falling out of the first round altogether.
The Rangers taking Rodriguez would give them a high-ceiling power arm, but also someone who, like most high school pitchers, carries injury risk and needs work on his secondaries. There also has to be a certain amount of concern about his size, given the weight issues he has had in the past -- as an 18 year old, its fair to assume he’s likely to get bulkier as he gets older. That said, he’s got the local angle, and while I’m not sure if the Rangers would grab him at #15, I could see them working a deal to pay him first round money if he slides to #55, getting “signability” below-slot guys in the 5-10 round range to pay for that.
Some video of Rodriguez:
UPDATE — From Kiley McDaniel’s chat today:
Who are some names beyond what we’ve been mocked to that we have been connected to?
We heard after the mock that Texas prep RHP Grayson Rodriguez will not get past your pick.