Dodgers 2014 Player Previews: Paco Rodriguez Looking to Pace Himself
2013 Stats: 76 Games, 54.1 IP, 30 Hits, 5 HR, 19 BB, 63 K’s, 2.32 ERA
Generally I’m not a fan of selecting college relievers with high draft picks. When the Dodgers took Paco in the second round of the 2012 draft, I was skeptical. Then I started hearing the scouting reports, people saying he could pitch in the majors that same year. I was still skeptical but a little more hopeful. Then I saw him pitch and told everyone I always knew he’d be a good pick.
After brief stints with the Loons and Lookouts, posting a 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings, the Dodgers called up the lefty to the big leagues for the final month of the season and he thrived. Rodriguez allowed just 1 run in 11 appearances. He was the first member of the 2012 draft class to reach the bigs.
He began 2013 with the big club and shut down opposing lefties, limiting them to a .130 batting average. Paco was also effective versus righties, holding them to a .205 mark. It took Don Mattingly a while to trust the southpaw against opposite handed hitters, but he eventually ended Paco’s run as a LOOGY (Lefty On Out Guy) and sent him in for full innings of work.
Late in the season, Rodriguez started to struggle. After dominating for five months, he posted a 5.68 ERA in September and became unreliable in the playoffs. This was likely the result of fatigue from pitching in his first full major league season.
2014 Outlook: Paco will begin the year with the big club once again and be expected to hold opposing team’s best lefty hitters in check. With the depth of the Dodgers’ bullpen, including the return of southpaw J.P. Howell, hopefully Rodriguez will get more time off this year. His 76 appearances in 2013 was tied for 5th most in the MLB. If Mattingly continues to work him ragged, I fear an injury may be in his future.
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