A few weeks ago, I wrote about Yariel Rodriguez becoming Cuba’s next dominant pitcher, we’ll that prediction has taken its next step in coming to fruition.
Yesterday the hard-throwing RHP Yariel Rodriguez was called up from the minors by the Chunichi Dragons of the Nippon Professional Baseball League after a dominant stint with the team’s top farm club.
In five appearances as a starter and reliever, the flamethrower has been dominant for the Dragons. In 17.2 innings of work, Rodriguez has a record of 2-0, earned run average of 0.51, and 16 K’s. He has also accumulated an SO9 of 8.4, while opponents are hitting paltry 0.75 against the Cuban.
Without a doubt, the righthander has proven that he’s a major league pitcher with Japan could see action any time in the near future, but his role as of right is unknown. Rodriguez is another graduate of the Dragon’s development program that has scouted other Cuban talent such as Ariel and Raidel Martinez and converted them into talent that has helped the team this season.
The knock of the native of Camagüey, Cuba was his lack of dominant secondary pitches, but the Chunichi coaching staff has helped him develop as a hurler. Another thing he needs to work on is development more movement on his fastball because although it is in the mid to high 90’s it is a very flat pitch.
If we base our prediction on how Rodríguez will perform on how the team develops its imported talent expect a good performance from the younger pitcher.
Last season in the Serie Nacional with the Toros of Camagüey he posted a record of 7-6, an ERA of 3.61 in 18 games pitched, and 15 starts. He also led the Cuban circuit with 93 K’s in a typical dominant fashion. In 99.2 innings he had a WHIP of 1.45, SO9 of 8.4, and opponents hit only .245.