On the heels of yesterday’s top prospect piece, let’s go in the way-back machine and look at a player in the Mets’ organization in 2019. Endy Rodriguez was an IFA signed in 2018 as an older prospect, one who received a nominal bonus. He spent parts of two seasons in the DSL before coming to the U.S., where he played in the GULF, where as a C/1B/OF he put up an .847 OPS in 89 PA at age 19. With the way of looking at prospects used in yesterday’ piece, Rodriguez would have been a third-tier, Luis Guillorme level player.

Unfortunately, I was doing an ordered-number list of prospects at the time, trying to figure out which older relievers had the best shot of reaching the majors in a part-time role. Rodriguez was nowhere on my list, which was published on 12/29/19.

On 1/19/21, the Mets traded Rodriguez as part of a three-team deal, sending him to the Pirates in the swap that netted the club Joey Lucchesi. The lefty was just starting to put things together for the Mets before coming down with an injury which kept him from pitching in the majors in 2022. Now, Lucchesi is in the mix for a position as a relief pitcher, although there’s no guarantee he makes the club out of Spring Training.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez has become one of the Pirates’ top prospects. Like all minor leaguers, he was hurt by the missed Covid year in 2020. In 2021, he put up an .892 OPS in 434 PA in Lo-A at age 21. The missed Covid year would have knocked him back to the fourth tier, as he was no longer on an age-appropriate trajectory. But he hit both before and after 2020, which was a good sign.

Then, last year, Rodriguez went from Hi-A to Double-A to Triple-A. He put up a .996 OPS in 531 PA, including a 1.120 OPS in 138 PA at Double-A, which was the preferred age level for him last year.

In a deep Pirates’ system, Rodriguez is now the sixth-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.

I’m a fan of Lucchesi and it’s my belief he’ll play some role on the 2023 Mets. But if the Pirates called up and offered Rodriguez straight up for Lucchesi, that’s a deal to be made 100 times out of 100. Having a switch-hitting catcher with experience playing other positions as productive as Rodriguez has been would be a coup for any organization.

Why rank prospects by levels focusing on age? Because you recognize the potential for a guy like Rodriguez years earlier than you would otherwise.

12 comments on “Wednesday catch-all thread (1/18/23)

  • David Groveman

    Tommy Pham signing was pretty good upside in my opinion. He gives the Mets another player who can not only slot in to rest the outfield but another option to help them shed Darin Ruf. Pham may never have turned into a star but he was a very solid starter for a few years.

    The latest is that the Mets are going hard after Andrew Chafin who would round out their bullpen and officially push the pen into grounds of being better than last year.

    I’m very annoyed with all the talk that the Mets “need” to make a deal to make up for no Corea signing. The Mets can go into the season with Baty in AAA and Escobar back at third and be okay. Come the trade deadline, I expect the Mets to be in the insanity sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani but for the offseason I don’t think another big move is needed.

  • Nym6986

    I think Pham on a one year contract is a great pickup and lets them start Alvarez down at Syracuse to improve his catching and stop the talk about Alvarez being the RH DH. Dunn had more potential HR power but signed with the Red Sox who would give him more playing time. One more arm in the pen and we should be ready to play ball.

  • Woodrow

    Wait, no need to trade the farm for Ohtani. Sign him as a FA.

    • Brian Joura

      It’s not that simple.

      Ohtani allegedly has a preference to stay on the West Coast. If the Angels are floundering again and decide to put him on the market, if the Mets sit that out, they run the risk of him being traded to SEA or one of the other California teams. And If Ohtani enjoys his stay with the new club, that gives them a giant leg-up to re-sign him.

      • Mike W

        Ohtani would be great, but as a free agent rather than raiding the farm system for a rental.

        Machado may opt out of his contract after this season. I’d rather have Machado than Correa manning third for the next eight years.

      • AgingBull

        So, what do you think it’s worth to get Ohtani rental for the end of 2023 and perhaps an inside angle towards signing him long-term? That’s kind of how it played out for Lindor, right? Except it was a full year “rental.” Ditto for Baez, except they didn’t sign him long-term. I think that what the Mets would offer would not be what the Angels will be able to get.
        On the other hand, when the Mets are in the thick of it this summer and can land Ohtani for, say Baty, Vientos, Allan, and Parada, would you do it? Would that even be enough? Does Alvarez need to be part of this?

        • Mike W

          No way I would trade all of those players for Ohtani for two months. I would do it if he agreed to a long term contract at the time of the trade.

        • Brian Joura

          To me, Alvarez is untouchable. Everyone else is on the table to get Ohtani. Tough to say now what it will take or what I would be comfortable doing. It’s possible the Angels would be interested in some of Lucchesi/Megill/Peterson, in addition to the names you mentioned.

          Not sure if it would be feasible to ask for a window to sign him long-term at the trade deadline. Likely would have to be at least a few days ahead of the deadline to make that work. Maybe longer.

  • AgingBull

    I am not a fan of the Pham signing. His stats are not exciting and as recently as 2021, his OPS vs. LH was below .700. I know no one cares about BA anymore, but he hit .202 that year against lefties. He’s clearly a better option that Lee but I’d much rather they use their prospects with some doses of McNeil in the OF too, with Luis G at 2B. The only FA that I thought was compelling was Cutch. Mancini, Duvall, and Pham were all “meh.” Pham is on a trajectory to be more “Ruf of H2, 2022” than Ruf is. Please go sign Chafin though.

  • Metsense

    The Mets weaknesses on offense were RHB DH, backup centerfielder as a fourth outfielder and upgrade the offense at catcher.
    Ruf failed miserably last year at RHB DH and defensively he wasn’t very good in outfield. Vientos might have been the RHB DH and wasn’t experienced for the outfield. Alvarez could’ve been the RHB DH but also wasn’t experienced at catcher. The Mets didn’t trust their $360 million payroll with rookies so they signed Pham, a .846 carreer and 2022 .784 OPS as their RHB DH and fourth outfielder. Marte or Canha will the backup centerfielders if Nimmo is injured.
    Nido signed a two year contract. Narvaez is a LHB catcher. They will platoon.
    With the two platoon and Guillorme and Ruf makes 13 position players. The rookies are now depth in AAA.

  • T.J.

    Pham signing is very ho-hum but it makes sense. Protect the kids with some “low cost” veteran depth…let the kids play themselves into a role with the big team.

    I would be very reluctant to parting with a boatload of prospects for Othani. Never say never, but a long shot at best. I can live with the risk of Othani going elsewhere and liking it. He would be a great get, but it is important to note that he has been a teammate for several years with the best player on the planet and they have won zippo. The organizational depth is part of the blueprint for sustainable success.

  • Woodrow

    What about the kids? Alvarez,Vientos,Baty and Mauricio all seem destined for the Minors. Will they ever get their shot? Pham,Ruf,Vogelbach,Narvaiz

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