It only took the Houston Astros six weeks, but they finally removed Nelson Figueroa from the rotation. Taking his place is the youngster, Aneury Rodriguez. Rodriguez will control his own destiny in regards to how long he stays in the rotation. If he doesn’t pitch so well this month then he may be headed straight back to the bullpen when Jordan Lyles gets the call. However, the Astros may be forced to do something with the struggling J.A. Happ or keep Jordan Lyles in the minors for longer if Aneury excels in the starting role.
What kind of pitcher is Aneury? Well, he doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he does love to throw his fastball. His fastball only sits in the low-90s. Rodriguez doesn’t mess around or toy with hitters. Instead, Rodriguez just pitches to his strengths, his fastball and slider. Through 13 innings this year, 90% of Rodriguez’ pitches have been of the fastball or slider variety. That is perfectly fine as a relief pitcher, but he will need to expand his arsenal if he wants to excel as a starting pitcher.
Aneury has the ceiling of a weak #2 or strong #3 starter (think Joel Pineiro or Ryan Dempster). Him reaching his potential relies primarily on the development of a third pitch to keep hitters off-balance. If he can’t do this, it’ll be back to the bullpen or back-of-the rotation/spot starter for the rest of his career. In 2011 fantasy owners should be willing to take a risk on Aneury Rodriguez if their pitching needs a pick me up. Just don’t be afraid to cut bait if the starting pitcher experiment doesn’t pan out right away.
Comparable Players: Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis, Ryan Dempster
2011 Prediction: 120 IP – 6 W – 84 K – 52 BB – 3.87 ERA – 1.37 WHIP