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What to Expect From Ronny Rodriguez

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The Brewers found a new utility player on the waiver wire.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A full week ago, the Milwaukee Brewers claimed utility player Ronny Rodríguez from the Detroit Tigers. In Rodríguez, the Brewers got a bat that can...

Uhh, Rodríguez’s defense can...

Umm, altogether he brings...

Well, Rodríguez is now on the 40-man roster.

The 27-year-old Rodríguez has had trouble finding success out of the minors. Originally in the Indians organization, he managed to string together a few above average seasons to excite the organizations that he’s played for. When he actually got to the Major Leagues in 2018, he was one of the worst offensive players in baseball with a 57 wRC+. That improved greatly last season in 294 plate appearances at 72, but overall that was still very not good. Keep in mind that 100 is the league average.

The best thing you can say about Rodríguez’s bat is that he’s a hard contact machine. He makes hard contact over 40% of the time and less than 20% of the balls off soft contact. Despite that, he doesn’t have good control of the zone. Rodríguez walks just 4.6% of the time and strikes out 24.8% of the time. On top of that, his heavy 50.4% pull rate makes it very easy to shift on him, and the shift gets assistance from his 38% ground ball rate and low 18.8% line drive rate. Those factors alone explain his roughly .250 BABIP and more or less eliminates any thoughts that he might have suffered from bad luck.

Defensively, Rodríguez has Major League experience around the horn and in the corner outfield. A vast majority of the that time has come in the middle infield where he has over 700 innings of play. Second base is the only position he carries a net-positive DRS and UZR. Every other positions is graded well below average.

Looking at Baseball Savant and FanGraphs will show that Rodríguez is actually a pretty speedy player. Unfortunately, that speed doesn’t translate to stolen bases or additional range on the field. If the Brewers can help him get more from that ability, there’s still a chance Rodríguez could be useful.

All in all, you don’t need to ask your utility infielders to do too much in the league. Really, just shift and be able to get a big hit every now and again. Based on his history, you can’t expect Rodríguez to do either. But at least he has minor league options remaining!