This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.
The Pirates have had an offseason to forget. One of the first major stories that didn’t break their way came in mid-December, when second-year backstop Endy Rodríguez’ 2024 season ended before it even began.
Rodríguez, 23, tore his right Ulnar Collateral Ligament on a swing during a winter ball game in his native Dominican Republic in November, needing Tommy John surgery and a flexor tendon repair because of it. The young catcher provided a major bright point last season, an exuberant presence and breath of fresh air in the Pirates’ clubhouse as the youth movement took hold and the team gained 14 wins over their 2022 performance. They’ll need to make do without that presence—at least on the field—in 2024.
The Pirates acquired Rodríguez from the New York Mets as part of three-way deal for Joe Musgrove in 2021. They drafted catcher Henry Davis with the first overall pick six months later, pushing Rodríguez to the back burner… until he burst onto the scene as the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2022.
Rodríguez’ play helped him supplant Davis for the everyday catching role in 2023. Now that he’s sidelined, Davis will get an extended chance to make his case as the starter behind the plate.
After receiving his call to the show following the All-Star Break, Rodríguez, a switch hitter, posted a .220/.284/.328 slash line with three home runs. Baseball Reference credited Rodríguez with 0.5 dWAR in parts of 52 games caught (45 starts). His 30 percent success rate throwing out attempted base stealers marked a ten percent improvement on the league average. A rangy athlete behind the plate, he also clocked 5.2 fielding runs saved above average. Baseball Savant listed Rodríguez’ pitch framing as a net neutral, with 0 runs added because of his ability to influence strike calls.
Instead of building on those marks for his sophomore campaign, Rodríguez will wait in the wings while recovering from his surgery, and his outlook for 2025—whether he returns to catching full time or tries his hand at another position after spending time at first base, second base and around the outfield while in the minor leagues—could hinge more on Davis’ ability than his own.