This is one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.
Pittsburgh acquired catcher Endy Rodriguez from the Mets in 2021 as one of the bevy of prospects in the three-team trade for Joe Musgrove. In two short years, he’s captured the imagination of many Pirates fans, even with the presence of 2021 first overall pick and fellow catcher Henry Davis to contend with.
Rodriguez played in 98 of 132 games for Low-A Bradenton in 2021, his first season in the minor leagues. Following his strong debut with the Marauders, Rodriguez burst onto the scene in 2022, slashing .323/.407/.590, slugging 25 home runs and drawing 60 walks while striking out at a better-than-average 18 percent clip.
His performance landed him a spot as the Pirates’ sixth-best prospect and honors as the Pirates’ Honus Wagner Minor League Player of the Year.
Rodriguez, 22, is listed at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He’s lanky and, although it hasn’t stunted his power yet, he could stand to add some bulk before making it to the major leagues. He possesses a .991 fielding percentage behind the dish and throws out would-be base stealers 29 percent of the time through his career, which is close to the major league average; his numbers could be bogged down by minor league defenders, however.
Although he’s listed at catcher, he’s played at second and first base and all three outfield positions. Rodriguez’s lively bat means he can also slot in at designated hitter—versatility the Pirates can call on in a pinch as he waits in the wings with Indianapolis. His flexibility helps reserve him a place with the Pirates, who along with Davis have an embarrassment of riches at catcher.
Rodriguez began the 2022 season with High-A Greensboro and played there until August as Davis worked back from a series of injuries in Double A. Once in Altoona, Rodriguez showed that his torrid offensive start didn’t hinge on the Grasshoppers’ hitter-friendly confines—his production increased with the Curve, earning him a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis in the final week of the season. Now he’s on the 40-man roster, his meteoric rise through the minors embodying the hopes of Pirates fans looking for light at the end of the rebuild tunnel, for a trade that didn’t turn out lopsided.
Rodriguez is perhaps the most intriguing prospect the Pirates have in 2023—can he continue his climb through the minors? He turned in a 1.208 OPS in six games with Indianapolis, but small sample sizes can make a fool out of sports fans and journalists alike.
As of now, Rodriguez is estimated to make the big leagues in 2024. A strong spring training could accelerate that timeline, but he could just as easily pump the brakes after everything went right in 2022, a season that saw him largely steal the spotlight from a first overall pick.