Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect Alfredo Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a hamate injury. Rodriguez, a Cuban shortstop that the Reds signed in July of 2016, had been playing with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos to begin the season. Things hadn’t been going well in the first week-and-a-half at the plate for the 23-year-old. In 29 plate appearances he was hitting .192/.276/.192. In the most recent seven games played, he had one hit. He had hit the ball out of the infield three times on the season. Perhaps the hamate had been bothering him a little longer than he had realized and on Saturday it all came to a head.
While the bat hadn’t been doing much, the defense that Alfredo Rodriguez was showing continued to impress. That side of the ball is what always stood out for him and it didn’t disappoint in the early on-goings of the year. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, as noted on the Blue Wahoos radio broadcast, he may miss as much as the rest of the first half with the injury. Typically, the hamate bone is removed when it’s injured. I have not been able to confirm if this will be the case with Rodriguez at the time I’m typing this.
With hamate injuries, players usually miss anywhere from four weeks to eight weeks. In same rare cases it can be a tad shorter, or longer recovery process (Giancarlo Stanton, for example, missed 3-and-a-half months in 2015). While players come back in that time frame, most players aren’t “back” to their normal selves at the plate for a while after that. Some players don’t seem to be back to normal in terms of power, and how hard they hit the ball after a hamate injury for up to a year after the injury.
Luis Gonzalez called up to Double-A Pensacola
Taking his place on the Blue Wahoos roster is Luis Gonzalez. He’s out to a very strong start in 2018. In 11 games with Daytona, he was hitting .385/.419/.538 on the season, and had at least one hit in 10 games. Last night he got the start for Pensacola and went 1-5 with a double.
Luis Gonzalez is an interesting prospect. Defensively, he was once regarded very well as a shortstop. A lower leg injury at the very end of the 2016 season seemed to slow him down a little bit in 2017 on the defensive side of things. He’s shown good hands and a strong arm, and in 2018 he’s found his way back over to shortstop after spending a majority of the previous season at third base.
At the plate, Luis Gonzalez has good bat speed and there’s a little more pop in his bat that he’s hit for in his Minor League career. He doesn’t strike out much, but he’s also rarely walked in his career. Between the 2016 and 2017 seasons he walked just 26 times in 814 plate appearances. That’s a rate that will need to improve moving forward. And it will probably need to improve by quite a bit. Doubling his walk rate in that stretch would still leave him at a very low walk rate.