After a Huge 2016 Season, Can 1B Aderlin Rodriguez Do It Again in 2017?

Over the next few weeks, the writers here at Baby Birdland will be touching on some of the players we are personally looking forward to see how they perform in 2017. Today, I take a look at first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez, who had a monster year last season, but I'm curious if he can do it again in 2017.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

Rodriguez, 25, is originally from the Dominican Republic and was signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent prior to last season. It didn't take long after the 2016 season ended for the O's to quickly re-sign Rodriguez to another minor league deal.

Why re-sign him so quickly? The 6-foot, three-inch, 210 pound right hander had a huge year for the High-A Frederick Keys where he hit .304 with 26 home runs, 23 doubles, six triples, 93 RBI and scored 71 runs in 130 games. He also posted a .359 OBP and a .891 OPS.

For those who may not be familiar with the minor leagues and how those numbers stack up, that's a monster year for a minor leaguer. Rodriguez led the entire Carolina League in slugging percentage (.532) and total bases (263), he ranked second in hits (150), home runs (26), and extra-base hits (55), third in batting average (.304), and fourth in RBI (93) this season.

He also led all Orioles' minor leaguers in home runs (26) and RBI (93).

After a year like that, I feel it was pretty wise to quickly re-sign him for 2017.

The question is, can he do it again?

To first answer that question, it's important to point out that in order to put up those kind of numbers again, he is going to have to do so at a higher level, and I anticipate him beginning the year at AA Bowie.

It won't be the first time Rodriguez will play at the AA level. He did so in 2015 as a member of both the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners organizations. Over 107 total games at the AA level, Rodriguez hit .234 with 13 home runs, 50 RBI, 24 doubles, and scored 47 runs. He also owned a .277 OBP.

The power numbers were decent, but obviously the average and OBP were not impressive. It is important to note that he was just 23 at the time, and that his swing looked much more sound last year at the plate.

I firmly believe that he can put up big numbers this year, and do so at the AA or even AAA level should a spot open there. The key for him to do so will using all fields. I personally saw him multiple times last year and the power is legit. The ball just makes a different sound off his bat. When he gets in trouble is when he gets into "pull-mode", but when he is using all fields, he is a very dangerous hitter.

I'm anxious to see how Rodriguez does in 2017, and as long as he stays sound at the plate, keeps his hips in, and uses all fields, I expect another big year from him this season.


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