The Astros kept rule 5 pick Aneury Rodriguez on the big league roster for the entire 2011 season for one reason, and one reason only. Because he’s an awesome pitcher! Just kidding. But the Astros needed to keep Rodriguez in the big leagues or offer him back to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros thought enough of Rodriguez to stick with him.
Rodriguez spent six seasons in the minors before making his big league debut last year at the age of 23. Rodriguez experienced success in the minors as a starter but worked mostly out of the bullpen for the Astros. In 43 appearances, including eight starts, Rodriguez was 1-6 with a 5.27 ERA. Rodriguez showed promise at times but struggled to achieve consistency. Rodriguez would often be sailing along before running into trouble that resulted in a big inning. Hitters averaged only .248 against Rodriguez which is very encouraging. But his 3.38 walks per 9 IP and 21.5% line drive percentage show room for improvement.
Rodriguez posted impressive numbers this winter as a starter in the Dominican League. But Winter League stats can sometimes be misleading. (see Fernando Abad) I expect to see Rodriguez spend plenty of time at Oklahoma City in 2012 now that he has options. His future is probably as a starter and there simply isn’t room for him in the rotation at this time. If one of the veterans gets traded at the deadline Rodriguez could be a candidate to fill that spot. That will of course depend on how he fares at AAA.