The Cincinnati Reds spent a lot of money to sign Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez in July of 2016. He spent that first summer playing in the Dominican Summer League, reacquainting himself with the game after missing time between leaving Cuba and being able to sign. The Reds sent Rodriguez, then a 22-year-old, to Daytona to play shortstop for the Tortugas.

April got out to a solid start for Alfredo Rodriguez. In the first week he notched a hit in all seven games, going 9-30. His hitting streak ended the first day of the next week, but he hit .269 from the 14th through the 20th. It was the final eight games of the month that were a real struggle. Rodriguez went 3-31 with three walks and four strikeouts down the stretch. That left his line for the month at .218/.277/.230 with six walks and 17 strikeouts. There was a complete lack of power. Over his 94 plate appearances he managed just one extra-base hit, a double.

The month of May started with the same struggles for Alfredo Rodriguez, who went 5-26 (.192) in the first week. Things picked up after that. Over the next ten games he racked up a 10-game hitting streak, hitting .400 in that span (16-40) with two doubles. His hitting streak ended in the first game of a double header on the 20th, but he went 5-5 with two doubles in the second game. Over the final nine games he kept things going, hitting .306 in 36 at-bats. For as bad as April was, May went the opposite direction. Rodriguez hit .333/.368/.387. The lack of power was still present, though he did manage six doubles. He walked just six times, but also struck out just 17 times in 117 plate appearances.

June got out to a tough start for Alfredo Rodriguez. In the first week he went just 2-20 over four games played with five strikeouts. He broke out of that slump over the next three games, going 6-15 with his first home run of the season. Over the next week, though, Rodriguez only played in one game, going 0-2. After the All-Star break he got back into game action, but things remained slow. In 10 games played, half of them he went hitless in, hitting just .146 the rest of the way. Over the 18 games played during June, the shortstop hit .179/.217/.231 with just two extra-base hits.

After going hitless in the final four games of June, July got out to a hot start. In the first week of the month Alfredo Rodriguez went 9-25 (.360). Things ended abruptly that second week as he went just 3-26 in six games. He didn’t play for five days before returning to the lineup on the 19th, where he went 3-5. Over the final 11 games of the month though, he went just 8-44 (.182). That did include his second home run of the season. In his 105 plate appearances on the month, Rodriguez managed a .230/.257/.300 line with five extra-base hits.

August got out to a solid start for Alfredo Rodriguez, going 5-17 (.294) with a double and a walk. That didn’t carry forward into the next week as he had five hits in 28 at-bats (.179). The next week saw Rodriguez double his hit total for the month, going 10-25 (.400) on the week. The hot bat didn’t exactly carry forward over the final nine games of the season. The now 23-year-old hit just .243, going 9-37 the rest of the way. Over the final month of the season he hit .271, but came with a .322 on-base percentage and a .290 slugging percentage.

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Alfredo Rodriguez Spray Chart

Alfredo Rodriguez Scouting Report

Hitting | There’s not been much of a track record of hitting for Alfredo Rodriguez. He didn’t hit in Cuba, he didn’t hit in the Dominican Summer League and he didn’t hit in the Florida State League. With that said, he makes contact and when healthy, has speed. He’s probably only a 40-grade hitter in the Majors, though, where .240-.250 isn’t completely outside the realm of possibilities.

Power | There’s been next to no power shown by Rodriguez at any point in his career. He’s a 25, maybe 30 power type of hitter who shouldn’t be expected to do any damage.

Running | He’s got plus speed when he wants to really go all out.

Arm | Rodriguez shows a strong arm at shortstop.

Defense | He’s got strong range in all directions, outstanding hands and is a plus or plus-plus defender at shortstop.

Alfredo Rodriguez has a chance to be an outstanding big league defender at shortstop. That is, if he can hit enough to be given the opportunity. His bat has been very poor in his professional career. He will also be 24-years-old in 2018. If there’s going to be a chance for him to be more than a good glove guy stashed in the minor leagues, he’s going to have to take some big steps forward at the plate. Pitchers aren’t exactly knocking the bat out of his hands, but they may as well be. He slugged under .300 during the 2017 season as a 23-year-old in A-ball. That’s difficult to do.

There’s some bat speed to work with for Rodriguez, and he does indeed make contact at a good rate. So there’s a chance he could improve his offensive profile. But, he’s going to have to show it, too, because the track record is established between his time in Cuba and now as a professional, and it’s not pretty at the plate.