Sueno Dorado's Rodriguez turning heads on the mound
There's a lot of talent milling around at the Cecil Fielder Elite World Series, but the really special ones always stick out.
This year the pitcher who is creating all the buzz among scouts and coaches is Sueno Dorado's 17-year-old Dalton Rodriguez. Rodriguez threw against CA Arsenal on Thursday and pitched six innings while striking out 10 batters and allowing only three hits.
“He's a real good pitcher,” said Sueno Dorado manager Francisco Villegas. “He throws 90-91, good slider and command of the ball. I was behind home plate yesterday and his slider was his best pitch. At 89-90, that's tough to hit.”
Rodriguez has also gotten attention from some in the scouting ranks. Philidelphia Phillies scout Mike Garcia saw Rodriguez as a 15-year-old and has been impressed ever since.
“The most impressive thing I've seen out of him as a 15-year-old kid is establishing and controlling the fastball,” Garcia said. “He throws it where he wants to and that's tough to do. He's ahead of his age and when you're able to do that, all your other pitches look that much better and that's what he's doing right now. He's only going to get better.”
Garcia said he envisions Rodriguez sitting comfortably at 93 mph with his fastball once he matures physically.
“His breaking ball's getting better,” Garcia said. “His change-up is probably his best out-pitch. It's an average-to-above average pitch right now and in the future it'll probably be an above average-to-plus pitch. It's always going to be his go-to. He's going to need to come up with a breaking ball, even if it's a marginal breaking ball, just enough to get people out here and there. I think he'll be an effective pitcher.”
Rodriguez's pitching isn't the only thing that has impressed Villegas. Rodriguez is able to help his teammates and share his knowledge of the craft.
“When he comes to us he helps our pitchers with mechanics and all that,” Villegas said. “He's a good kid.”