The Red Sox have called up top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez from Triple-A Pawtucket. Rodriguez will make his major league debut Thursday against the Rangers. It appears as though Rodriguez will just be making a spot start to give an extra rest day to the staff. Rodriguez is carrying a 2.98 ERA through eight starts with the PawSox and has baffled hitters in the International League with a 6.29 K/BB rate.
Acquired in a trade deadline swap last year with the Orioles that sent Andrew Miller to Baltimore, the 22-year-old left-hander has been a revelation. Rodriguez found success in Baltimore behind a filthy fastball that graded as a plus offering, but has since developed his change-up into a plus pitch and improved his slider to an above-average level. Since improving his secondary repertoire and improving his fastball command, he has become a star prospect.
The Red Sox have seen significant improvement in their rotation in May thanks in large part to Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz and Wade Miley, but Justin Masterson is a mess and the team is considering moving Joe Kelly to the bullpen. Steven Wright has been an adequate fill-in thus far but lacks the upside of a long-term solution in a rotation in desperate need of talent. If Rodriguez succeeds it will be interesting to see if the team chooses to give him a rotation spot over Kelly or Wright.
Rodriguez appears about as MLB-ready as a prospect can be. This is not a case of the Red Sox rushing up a prospect to fill a need, but on the other hand we have also seen how big the gap between Triple-A and the majors has become, so expectations should be tempered. Rodriguez has seemed like a strong candidate for a weak rotation from the get-go, and if he impresses (or at least doesn’t implode) there is no reason the team shouldn’t give him a shot.