Pirates call up Dominican prospect Endy Rodríguez

The Pirates plan to move up two prospects to MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list: No. 35 Endy Rodriguez plus No. 53 Quinn Priester.

The right-hander Priester was scheduled to start Pittsburgh’s game Monday against the Guardians. Rodriguez, a catcher/outfielder, would also see action.

Acquired from the Mets as part of a three-team trade in 2021, Rodriguez has been one of the Pirates’ success stories in minor league development. Coming off a strong Class-A season in 2021, the switch-hitter swept last year, when he hit .323/.407/.590 with 25 home runs in 125 games between Class-A High, Double-A and Triple-A. . At Triple-A this year, Rodríguez is hitting .268/.356/.415 in 67 games. He has given multiple hits in four of his last five games and since June 23, he is 22-for-59 (.373) with more extra-base hits (eight) than strikeouts (seven).

The 23-year-old has exhibited a solid mentality at the plate, with a 14.9% strikeout rate that ranks 11th-best among 112 qualified hitters at the Triple-A level in 2023.

Rodríguez’s power has diminished, since he has only seven home runs this season. And his hard-hit rate of 31.6% will be the most modest among Pirates hitters today. But with a top exit velocity of 109.8 mph, the Santiago native does have natural power, so maximizing that would be a priority for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates have welcomed Rodriguez’s athletic ability since acquiring him two years ago. In the past, the organization has tested him at first and third bases, as well as left field. However, in 2023, the only other position he has played, other than catching, is first baseman.

With another prospect brought up to Pittsburgh’s big team, Henry Davis, playing right field, Rodriguez should continue to play mostly behind the plate. Pirates catchers rank last in offense, with a collective wRC+ of 47. On the other side, Rodríguez has caught just seven of the 50 baserunners he has stolen this year. So being around veteran Austin Hedges, an excellent defensive receiver, could go a long way.

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