Indians 2013 in Review: Luigi Rodriguez (best speed in the system)

It's not my fault there aren't any pictures of Luigi Rodriguez yet. - Will Russell

LGT's review of 2013 continues with Luigi Rodriguez, an outfielder with some of the best speed in the Indians farm system.

Luigi Rodriguez

Position: OF

Bats: both Throws: right

Age: 20

Height: 5' 11" Weight: 160

Acquired: signed as international free agent in 2009

Luigi Rodriguez was signed by the Indians while still only 16 years old. In his first year of stateside ball (2010), his time was divided between second base and the outfield, but in 2011 he became a fulltime outfielder, playing predominantly in center. He displayed tremendous speed from the start, stealing 31 bases in just 63 games in 2010, and being named 'Fastest Baserunner' in the Indians system by Baseball America at the end of both 2011 and 2012. In 2011 he split time between rookie ball and Single-A, combining for a .304/.356/.423 line at the age of 18, which shot him up prospect lists.

Rodriguez was in Lake County for all of 2012. He stole 24 bases and showed improved power, hitting 11 home runs and 37 total extra-base hits. He also struck out 133 times, which is a sign for some concern for a player who doesn't project as a plus power hitter at the MLB level. All in all though, it was another strong season for him, and he headed into 2013 in the top 10 of many Indians prospect lists.

Rodriguez began 2013 still in Lake County, but by the end of April he'd been promoted to Carolina (High-A). In his first full month there (May), he posted a fine hitting line of .307/.392/.443, with 11 extra-base hits. At that point he missed more than two weeks with a shoulder injury, and after 7 games back on the field, he hit the DL again and was eventually shut down for the season.

In 34 total games at High-A, Rodriguez didn't hit a single home run, which is disappointing, after he seemed to have found some power in 2012. He was also a disheartening 3 for 7 on stolen base attempts, proving not all speedy players are able to use that ability to actually become a great base runner. I don't know if the Indians have a coach in the system who's up to the task, but someone needs to work with Rodriguez to hone his instincts on the bases (what's Kenny Lofton up to?). Rodriguez continued to draw walks at a solid clip (18 BB in 134 PA) and hit for a decent average (.283), but the advantage those on-base skills provides is muted by his baserunning having plateaued (or diminished).

Between the time missed due to injury and the dip in power and steals, 2013 was a disappointing season for Rodriguez. Scouts are still high on his speed and potential to become a plus fielder (given his tools), but he is likely to slide back out of the top ten among Indians prospects, after placing there the last two offseasons. Look for him to be sent to Carolina again to begin 2014. Hopefully he has a healthier year, and gets back to the progress he was showing prior to last summer.

2010 17 Indians FRk 63 249 62 7 10 2 31 9 36 35 .301 .403 .461
2011 18 2 Teams A-Rk 59 251 69 10 4 3 18 10 19 55 .304 .356 .423
2011 18 Indians Rk 25 103 36 6 2 3 12 5 5 19 .379 .408 .579
2011 18 Lake County A 34 148 33 4 2 0 6 5 14 36 .250 .320 .311
2012 19 Lake County A 117 521 124 21 5 11 24 9 50 133 .268 .338 .406
2013 20 2 Teams A+-A 56 222 52 13 1 1 8 7 28 61 .275 .368 .370
2013 20 Lake County A 22 88 20 2 0 1 5 3 10 25 .263 .345 .329
2013 20 Carolina A+ 34 134 32 11 1 0 3 4 18 36 .283 .383 .398

Provided by View Original Table

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