Pirate hunter Endy Rodriguez He underwent surgery to repair the UCL and flexor tendon in his throwing arm, the team announced. He won’t start baseball action for 10-12 months and will miss all of 2024.
Rodriguez was the presumptive candidate to open the season as the Bucs’ starting catcher. Unfortunately, he suffered a freak injury while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic last month. Next year will be a lost season for the switch-hitter.
Considered one of the most talented players in the sport, Rodriguez made his major league debut shortly after the All-Star break. He served as a starter in Pittsburgh despite struggling in his first look at MLB pitching. Over 57 games, the 23-year-old has hit .220/.284/.328 with a hat-trick of home runs.
While Rodriguez doesn’t have a ton of power, he has shown excellent discipline in the junior’s offensive zone. He walked at an average of 11.4% while maintaining a strikeout rate south of 15% in 315 games for Triple-A Indianapolis, where he hit .268/.356/.415. He combines that with a catcher’s rare athleticism and strong defensive reviews from scouts. Statcast rated him as an average receiver in his first 410 big league innings but credited him with better than average arm strength.
Between Rodriguez and the 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis, Pittsburgh entered the season with two distinct prospects. The Pirates favored Rodriguez defensively, keeping him behind the plate as a starter while moving Davis almost full-time to right field. At GM meetings last month, general manager Ben Cherington said the organization still plans to give Davis an extended opportunity behind the plate. Rodriguez’s unfortunate injury opens the way for the Louisville product to take over the No. 1 job.
Like Rodriguez, Davis made his MLB debut last summer but didn’t produce much at the plate. He hit .213/.302/.351 with seven long balls in his first 255 plate appearances. The 24-year-old also had well below average defensive marks in right field. His MLB track record at catcher consists of two innings, but scouts have raised questions about his receiving skills in college and during his time in the minor league.
If the Pirates want Davis to continue his defensive development in Triple-A, their best interior options are light-hitting defenders Ali Sanchez And Jason DeLay. Includes veteran options available in free agency Martin Maldonado, Tom Murphy, Austin Nola, Tucker Barnhart And an old friend Jacob Stallings.
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