David Rodriguez is another prospect who the Mets are hoping to see improvement from down in Florida this Spring Training.
The last catcher on the invitee list, David Rodriguez is another Venezuelan catcher who was signed as an international free agent and is seeking to cement his status as a prospect worth investing in going forward. Before he came to the Mets on a minor league deal, Rodriguez had spent seven years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Rodriguez was initially signed by the Mets to improve their catching depth in the minors. Like Meyer, he received praise for his defensive abilities behind the plate while his offense left a lot to be desired. Baseball America noted Rodriguez’s athleticism, which enables him to block wild pitches well, and his arm strength, which results in him responding to base stealers quickly.
However, Rodriguez’s offense has so far held him back in his career. He posted a mere 76 wRC+ back in 2018. Despite showcasing improvement in 2019, Rodriguez only hit .225/.303/.366 with seven home runs and 36 RBI, and his wRC+ was 95, which is still below the league average.
What should get Mets fans feeling optimistic is that his performance this past winter suggested that his improvement in 2019 was not an outlier but a sign that he is developing into a more well-rounded catcher. Rodriguez compiled a 1.040 OPS in winter ball this past year, and although it is a small sample size, the Mets must have liked what they saw from him there because they are giving him an opportunity to play in Florida during this Spring Training season.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
It is likely that Rodriguez will start the 2021 season in Double-A after Spring Training concludes, but being invited is an accomplishment in itself. It shows that the Mets still believe that he could be in their future plans, and it represents another developmental step in his professional career.