Scouting Report: What the Blue Jays are getting in newly-signed pitcher Yariel Rodriguez

Nick Prasad
2 months ago
As had been speculated for quite some time, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Cuban right-handed pitcher Yariel Rodriguez on Wednesday. The deal is reportedly worth $32 million over four years, according to Francys Romero.
With Rodriguez, the Blue Jays are adding a very interesting arm to an already deep pitching staff. Let’s get to know the newest pitcher in Toronto’s system and what role he might play with the organization moving forward.
Rodriguez has a stats page that paints experience in various capacities. He’s pitched as a starter and as a reliever in Cuba and Japan, most recently serving as one of the top bullpen arms for the Chunichi Dragons during the 2022 season. He posted a 1.15 ERA over 54 2/3 innings while striking out 60 batters and walking only 18.
In March of 2023, Rodriguez left the Dragons to pursue a Major League contract, but the team declared his deal was still valid and he wound up sitting out the entire season. Rodriguez’s only game action in 2023 came while pitching for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic, where he allowed two earned runs across 7 1/3 innings.

The 27-year-old comes with a mature body type, standing 6’1” at 165 pounds with a muscular-athletic build and strong composite. His athletic ability is very visual in his composure, delivery, and recovery positions. His motions are very calculated, and this can be a result of playing in Japan. He stands tall and strong with a consistent motion and windup and incorporates a similar lift-leg kick, which is delayed, comparable to Yamamoto, Kodai Senga, and Yu Darvish. Rodriguez’s balance and separation are well-timed and fluid with his release, which pins over the top and across the body on the finish. His delivery is repeated very well.
Rodriguez shows five options, led by a four-seam fastball that tops at 97 miles per hour. His fastball is located well and consistently, working the charts with some bite. His changeup and splitter are complimentary to his tool belt, however, they are the least used pitches compared to the other two options. The change works low and he shovels it away from the hitter. His splitter has good down-ward action but is at risk when he misses up.
The out-pitches are his slider and curveball. His hook works usually as a 12-6 and sits early to mid-80s. The slider sweeps in on righties and also works low with good horizontal movement. His slider would be the out-pitch, forcing groundouts. All of his off-speed is effective, and works count to result in punch-outs. His command is a 65 on the 20-80 scale, and Rodriguez recorded only 17 wild pitches and 18 batters hit by pitches across 622 batters faced.
Rodriguez is a nice addition for the Blue Jays. He brings years of valuable experience and quality innings in various capacities of professional and competitive baseball across the world. His repertoire has him fitting in the rotation and in the bullpen, and he has a demeanour for the young players to feed off of, providing possible guidance as the older-experienced player.
Looking at the 2024 season, Rodriguez will come into spring training looking for the fifth spot in Toronto’s starting rotation, with Alek Manoah, Mitch White, and Bowden Francis among the other names in the mix for the spot. Rodriguez might wind up fitting into the role Ross Stripling played for the team a couple of years ago, as the multi-inning arm out of the bullpen who can also be leaned on for starts.


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