I admittedly got excited when I heard that the Astros drafted Aneury Rodriguez in the rule-5 draft this offseason, even though I had never seen him pitch, and had no idea what kind of stuff he possessed. The only thing that I based my excitement on was his stats, which while not outstanding; they were also nothing to be discouraged of. I have been a big fan of the youth movement, and thought that maybe Rodriguez could duplicate his success in the minors and become a cheap addition with a little upside to the staff. However, after watching Rodriguez pitch out of the bullpen so far this season, he does not look to feature anything spectacular. His velocity, location, and off-speed offerings all appear to be average at best. I am becoming less sure about his upside and long-term potential for success, and more concerned about whether or not the Astros will even be able to, or want to keep him on the major league roster for the entire season.
The fact of the matter is that the Astros have a young bullpen that so far have not performed all that well. I am not for sure what options the Astros have with Alberto Arias or Sammy Gervacio for that matter, but with both Arias and Gervacio on the mend, is there a place for Rodriguez in a struggling bullpen when one of these two, or both are ready to come back. Both Gervacio and Arias are still probably at least 1 month away from returning, which should give Rodriguez enough time to get more outings under his belt to provide a decent sample size in determining if he can have success in the bullpen or not before that decision has to be made. If Gervacio and Arias both show that they are healthy then it seems like they would be inserted into the pen to provide stability. If that occurs then the odd men out would probably be between Aneury Rodriguez, Jeff Fulchino, or Enario Del Rosario. Which one of these three would you keep on the roster?
The biggest factor that is working in Rodriguez’s favor on staying on the big league roster is the fact that the Astros have very little starting pitching depth to safeguard against injury. The Hyphen agreeing to a minor league deal helped this deficiency, but the Astros are still very thin starting pitching wise. If an injury were to occur in the rotation, then the depth chart for next available options to me would be as follows:
1.) Aneury Rodriguez
3.) Jordan Lyles – This is due to his Super-Two status potential. If after that deadline passes then I think Lyles is # 1 if he is performing well in Oklahoma City.
4.) Douglas Arguello
5.) Sergio Perez
6.) Fernando Nieve
After Lyles the next best options are just the filler type guys who probably have little upside at the major league level. If Gervacio and Arias return, then looking at the Aneury Rodriguez situation under this light would make offering him back to the Rays a very tough decision. The Astros could not afford to hold on to him and risk losing Gervacio or Arias, but could also not afford to give him up and lose a big part of the little starting pitching depth that they do have.
I would still like to see what Rodriguez could do in the starting rotation, but I also understand now why management decided to go with Figueroa over Rodriguez to start the season. I still think that Rodriguez may possess the upside of a number 4 or 5 starter, but now think that his floor is lower than what I initially thought it would be. You guys are all very knowledgeable when it comes to this kind of stuff, and TCB is the first place that I go to get all my Astros news and information. With that being said I would like to know if you guys think that Aneury will stay on the major league roster all season, or be offered back to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.