Through The Prospect Porthole: Expectations For Endy

3-2-23 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)

Mention Endy Rodriguez in a room full of Pirates Fans, and I can almost guarantee you that the majority would join together in mass to scream about how he should start behind the plate in the Majors; in spite of the fact that most have probably never seen him play, beyond video clips on social media.

In the minds of many the entire decision is based around service manipulation, and honestly I can’t blame them for thinking this way/believing this to be true.

It’s almost been ingrained in the subconscious of every person who cheers for the Pirates; ultimately causing some of the most visceral reactions I have ever witnessed.

Just the thought that something like this is happening again makes the ground around PNC Park start to shake with the stampede of angry Pittsburgers, as the march down to 115 Federal Street to air their grievances.

Not really, most just tweet about incessantly. But, they are really upset. And, each year they get a new sacrificial lamb-real or somewhat imagined-to lay at the feet of the Pirate faithful.

In 2020 it was Ke’Bryan Hayes, last season it was Oneil Cruz and Roansy Contreras, and this year it will be/already is Endy Rodriguez; with Luis Ortiz as another option, to a slightly lesser degree. 

Obviously this is nothing new. I can remember the same outcry for a young outfielder, turned first baseman, who was batting near .300, while racking up the extra base hits in the Circle City back in 2016. Or, think back to right before the team ended their record breaking winless streak; when a potential superstar centerfielder needed just a few more at bats in Triple-A, in spite of the fact that he had accumulated 590 plate appearances during the previous season. 

The names change, but the reactions remain the same; even if every instance is not necessarily created equal. 

Do I think Endy’s bat could play in the Majors right now? Probably.

Sure he could experience the normal regression that often comes when the league adjusts to a young batter. Yet, I would fully expect him to punch back at Major League pitchers; like he has done at every level.

His bat has never been in question.

He doesn’t strike out a whole lot.-18% in his entire time in the Minors. And he walks a decent amount-11.8% of his plate appearances. His effortless power has only increased at every stop throughout the Pirates Farm System; going from a .218 ISO in Bradenton last season to a .322 during his time with the Curve. And, as I wrote earlier this week, the kid can do all of this from both sides of the plate.

To me the real challenge has always been his ability to handle a Major League Staff, with only 645 innings behind the dish above Low-A, with only about 210 of them coming from his time in Altoona and Indianapolis.

Sure, he’s got a cannon for an arm-as evidenced by his 31% Caught Stealing Rate in 2022-and can play multiple positions; but, even when you look at those numbers, it’s only 147 innings at second base, 102 in the outfield and 27 at first. Yeah, he has the potential. I just think we need to see it put into practice more; and, simply get him some more reps.

Speaking of reps, that seems to be exactly what Endy has been doing during his time in Bradenton thus far this Spring Training.

After watching this video by Jordan Comadena-Bullpen Catcher/Catching Coach-I reached out to him to gather some specifics as to exactly what Endy is working on.

He’s done a nice job with some subtle postural changes, glove timing and angles with his body.

In the mean time, he has also been taking fungos at 1st and 2nd; recently getting the nod at 1st in a Grapefruit League Game against the Tigers, that no one got to see. Nevertheless, it gave me another reason to reach out to Comadena to inquire as to Endy’s ability to stick behind the plate.

Endy is a special kid.. extremely talented, athletic. Can play a number of positions on the field. Can really hit.. his projected offensive impact at the catcher position is one reason why he’ll stick back there.

Undoubtedly, much of what I just wrote will be brushed aside by the service manipulation crowd; as they focus on each sweet swing from Endy this spring, while pointing out every strike out and soft contact stroke from the light hitting Austin Hedges.

Like I said before, I totally get it; and, can’t really blame anyone for thinking this way. We’ve seen it too many times before.

Still, I can’t see the harm in having him develop as a professional backstop with battery mates like Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows, Luis Ortiz, etc.; particularly since he will more than likely be catching offering from each of them over the next few years, at the very least.

To me, it would be much more detrimental to his development, to put him in situations that he isn’t fully prepared for. Although, Comadena didn’t completely agree; putting emphasis on the types of pitchers Endy needs to work with.

Just needs to keep playing, keep catching high level arms.

I guess maybe I need to be a little more aggressive in my assessments; leaning more towards iron sharpens iron, rather than my old go to.

Better safe than sorry, I always say; or was it Saul Goodman that said it best.

A giant thank you to Jordan for responding to my multiple inquiries concerning Endy.

For those who don’t, give Jordan a follow on Twitter-@funky2414-and on Instagram-funky24-to catch videos of and insights on the Pirates backstops.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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