Up and Coming: Gerardo Rodriguez
Height: 195 lbs
Drafted: Signed as an international free agent in 2005
Position: 1st Base
Tools: Rodriguez is very, very raw, but he can hit. He's so raw that there isn't a whole lot of scouting information on him, but he is reputed to be talented. He's no base stealer, but he is athletic enough. He should be able to hold down 1st base fairly well once he adjusts to the position. Rodriguez used to be a catcher, but for some reason (I don't have any reports on his defensive abilities) he was switched to 1st base. His main tool is power. Reports are slim, but Rodriguez may be a 60 power guy. He really good at getting the ball in the air, which will keep his average up a lot of strikeouts.
Performance: Rodriguez is very young, and because of that he has played only one season in the minor leagues. He hit what is at first glance an unimpressive .285/.342/.445 line. However, one must adjust for context. Minorleaguesplits.com lits his park adjusted line at .321/.375/.496. The Gulf Coast League is probably the hardest in baseball to find power, both because of enviromental factors and the youth of the prospects involved. Rodriguez also hit for significantly more power when away from his home park. Regardless, Rodriguez was likely the best position player on the team. However, he does have his weaknesses. Rodriguez struck out quite a bit, King 34 times in 38 games.
Health: Gerardo is too young to say anything substantial about his health.
2007 Outlook: Gerardo impressed a lot of people in 2006. He hit 3 home runs and 13 doubles in 2006, which is equal to 55 doubles and 13 home runs during a full 162 game season. He'll head to Charleston to try and turn some of those doubles in to long bombs. Now that he is playing 1st instead of catcher, he can concentrate on hitting. He'll be able to put on some more muscle. He'll learn the new position. He is ticketed for Charleston. He could very well be in Tampa by year's end.
Comparison: Damned if I know. I guess I could see some of Nick Swisher in Rodriguez, but who knows at this point.
My Take: There is precious little information about Rodriguez available. He's a young player who is very well thought of by the Yankees. He is a 1st baseman with tons of power. He had a great season in the Gulf Coast League. He won't turn 20 until next October. Honestly, there isn't a whole lot to go on. I did not include him in my top 50 because of his lack of a a minor league pedigree. He could very well run up the charts next year. My prediction? 25+ home runs and 35+ doubles next season. As a 1st baseman, he'll have to put up those kinds of numbers.