The Tigers must be picking my brain, because Eduardo Rodriguez was on my short-list for a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper post. I am asking the Tigers politely: Please, stop picking my brain, after just recently going on a Scarecrow-esque spiritual journey of going from no brain to a half brain to a full-full brain. People with full-full brains call them “full-full brains,” right? Yes? Cool, thanks. So, last year, Eduardo Rodriguez went 13-8 with a 3.32 FIP, a 10.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. If you’re like me — a full-full brain person — then you’re likely thinking, “Hey, this guy never mentioned his ERA or WHIP!” Smart, we are. Talk like Yoda, I do. I didn’t mention those stats, because I wanted you to see how good Eduardo Rodriguez was before telling you how bad Eduardo Rodriguez was. If you just saw those numbers, you’d be like, “This guy with a full-full brain is telling me Ed-Rod is good, and those numbers are showing me Ed-Rod is good-good, so how would he even be a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper?” Good question for someone who doesn’t sound full-full in the head like me. Ed-Rod had a 4.74 ERA last year in 157 2/3 IP. Ha, that’s awful, and why I think a lot of people will be ignoring him. Eduardo Rodriguez was very unlucky in 2020, then in much different ways he was unlucky again in 2021. Focus on his xBA numbers, because that’s what’s gonna f**k us (pun points!):
Look at those xBA’s. That’s crazy. Every single pitch should’ve produced better results, except his slider (more on that in a second). His velocity was down a hair in 2021, but it was really down in April, after a full year off, then it hovered up. Not quite reaching 2019 levels, but close enough. I’m not worried about velocity losses. Fenway is not a great park for BABIPs, so can dismiss some his bad luck across the board, but *that* much bad luck? Did he walk under a ladder on the way out to the mound every game? If he were traded after 2019, and he had a new home park in 2021, I might say these BABIPs might not regress, but this guy is clearly being unlucky and that will correct itself. Quick take away unrelated to the xBA numbers is he’s starting to figure out his slider, which has been a long time in the germination pod. Since 2015, he’s been throwing a slider and the values that it’s produced are all negative, which makes me chuckle a little. He’s still trying it, and it still is not great. Either way, last year was the best, uh, negative it’s been at -0.14. To give you an idea of how to compare that, in 2019, it was -2.31. That’s very bad. Don’t think that means a lot, but if his slider becomes a positive pitch for him to go with his cutter, fastball and change, three pitches that were all extremely positive as recently as 2019, Ed-Rod’s not going to be a sleeper that becomes a number two, but he’ll be an ace.
I’ve been a fan of Ed-Rod for so long, I painted his face on a kitchen cabinet that I call my Ed-Rod cupboard and it’s where I store my Top Gun-themed collectible Big Gulp cups. He’s rewarded me with two seasons of 3.82 and 3.81 (who are you, Khris Davis with the number .247), then I was out last year, due to him missing 2020, but it’s time to get back in. 2022 might be the year where we finally see him realize the immense upside. For 2022, I’ll give Eduardo Rodriguez projections of 14-7/3.77/1.24/217 in 191 IP with a chance for more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:
Please, blog, may I have some more?