Updated: Dec 5, 2021
WELCOME TO THE DIRTY FLIRTY.
These are my top 40 prospects in The Cardinals organization, aside from the players that I’ve already covered in The Dirty Annexes. This little ditty here is the preface to all of the post in our Dirty series. So, if you’ve read this once then you don’t need to read it again!
A warning to those looking for Lars Nootbaar, Scott Hurst, Junior Fernandez, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Edmundo Sosa, and anyone aside from Angel Rondon that has already made a major league debut: That’s not really my bailiwick, as I’m sure you’ve heard enough about those guys from more qualified outlets already. Most of those guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway.
A reminder that this is an exercise in futility, ranking prospects. It’s a landscape that is ever-changing and developing. We are almost always talking about kids that are just starting to understand both themselves and their bodies, while learning the most difficult and nuanced sport in the land. You never know when someone is going to start doing 200 pushups per day on their way to postseason glory.
I ask for your thoughts and feedback. I ask that you have fun. I ask that you remember that I’m a moron. Most importantly, I ask that you take all of the prospect rankings from every outlet in the spirit of what they are: a snapshot of that moment, with a bent towards understanding what might come.
#34: RHP Dionys Rodriguez
21 Years Old
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018
The truth is, I don't know Dionys Rodriguez from a hole in a wall, really. I have seen very little of him with my own eyes, other than some video from here and there from people present at the Palm Beach games. Just like you, I know him mostly as a stat package from your favorite websites. This is the part where I tell you to go to Joe Drake’s twitter page and watch the video that I have embedded into this post.
I am not sure how we got to this point, but Rodriguez seems to be a rising prospect in the Cardinals organization. Whether I am talking to someone in the business or someone from another Internet scouting service, I am constantly being told Rodriguez is the guy that I need to include on The Dirty. Much like with Edwin Nunez, I've been told that he needs to be higher than where I have put him (and now that I think about it, I wish I would have switched the two on the list and stuck with my gut).
Initially, when this thing was the Dirty Thirty-Five, I wanted to make a point for Dionys to be the first prospect that you ran into. I thought that it would be a good opportunity to get to know someone new and exciting, while highlighting how important it is to my evaluation process to actually watch a kid play. It was a unique opportunity to point out how difficult this entire process is, how information is spread, how players are talked about and championed, and how a sleeper prospect can become a real prospect before he is ever really a sleeper prospect in this day and age. He's 35th on the list more for that reason than anything else.
Anyway, everyone is kinda talking about Rodriguez already, so here we are.
From Mr. Drake’s YouTube video via PROSPECTS LIVE, and from other videos that I’ve been sent, you can see why scouts and the Cardinals alike are bullish on Rodriguez. I am hopeful that you will also notice that there is only one video in this entire article. That's because there's virtually ZERO video of him out there in this overly-connected world. Again, it's so difficult for me to be aggressive with a pitcher that I haven't watched with my own eyes. I've had some people send me video from the stands (stuff that I'm not going to add here), but that's just not enough.
Dionys has got a frame for pitching. That’s a body type and an arm type that is going to be able to live in the mid-90’s late into starts. You can also see that his motion is relatively quiet, albeit a little too long in the arm and lead-leg for his own good. I’d wager that both things shorten up with time. Sometimes it looks like he is flying open on his landing-leg and that’ll need work, but it’s fine, really. There isn’t a lot going on, and he seems in control of both his upper body and the rhythm of his lower half. If there is one thing that my followers know about me it’s that I love lower-half rhythm? Anyway, there is some of the same issues that Johan Oviedo used to have before he could control his body. There isn’t anything wrong with that just yet though!
I’ve also received positive reports about his secondary offerings. I think that most agree that his slider has above average movement but isn’t consistent enough to be called above average just yet because he doesn’t command it well enough. It does appear to have the potential to be a plus pitch down the road with a substantial amount of refinement. The pitch that everyone is talking about is his cutter, which has some incredible late life and bite. From some reports, it's the combination of the cutter and fastball that allowed Rodriguez to carve up Low-A hitters in 2019. I can't wait to see more of it.
The changeup is his last offering. Rodriguez hardly throws it and he doesn't exhibit much of a command for it when he does throw it. That’s OK. He’s still young and he still has plenty of time to work on it. I find that it’s a big positive that the changeup can have incredible movement when he is feeling it. That’s a solid base to build from.
It's his stats that will get you super wet. You'll notice the delightful .199 batting average against that is complimented with a terrific strikeout rate of 30.6%. Those numbers are made even better because Dionys only walked 7.6% of batters during the 2021 season. I'm the least amount worried that he averaged letting up a homer once in every ten innings or so down the stretch in that league, but it's "whatever", really. Nothing to focus on when all of the other stats are so positive.
Dionys had a very productive 2021 season, and I love to see that he is starting to get some national attention. As cool as that is to see, personally, I cannot wait to see him on the regular during the 2022 season. I can’t remember the last time… maybe it was Elehuris Montero… but I can’t remember the last time that so many people were this excited for an International kid with such little experience, state-side. I'm sure that he should be higher on the list, and I am very hopeful that I will look like a fucking asshole in like eight months for having him where he is currently slotted. If only I could have seen more of him with my own eyes.
As I just take a screenshot straight from their website, I can’t begin to stress loudly enough the important role that FanGraphs plays in the statistical side of what I do with these write-ups. Please subscribe to their service BY CLICKING THIS LINK.
An incredible LARGE AND LOUD shout-out to JOE DRAKE for providing the video in this article. He's a life saver for this article, really. Follow him on Twitter by clicking on his name and following the link. While you are at it, Follow PROSPECTS LIVE and subscribe to their YouTube page.
In addition, you all know how important and valuable @cardinalsgifs is to the pictures that fire up these articles. He’s helped with some of the gifs along the lines, too. I wouldn’t do the write-ups if it weren’t for him.
Thank For Reading!!