June 25, 2024

Grayson Rodriguez faced challenges during the early stages of his rookie season. Despite a difficult spring with a 7.04 ERA over 15.1 innings, he missed the Opening Day roster. However, an injury to Kyle Bradish created an opportunity for Rodriguez in the rotation. Despite a decent debut against the Rangers, he struggled in subsequent outings, posting a 7.35 ERA, 5.90 FIP, and a .956 opponents’ OPS over his first 10 starts, leading to a demotion.

Back in Triple-A Norfolk, Rodriguez showed improvement. Over five starts in June, he recorded a 2.22 ERA over 28.1 innings with 39 strikeouts. Despite some walks, he limited damage and allowed only three home runs, a stark contrast to his previous struggles in the majors.

His success continued in July, earning him another chance in the majors. From July 17 onwards, Rodriguez excelled, posting a 2.58 ERA and a 2.76 FIP, ranking among the league’s best. Although his strikeout and walk rates were good but not outstanding, he significantly improved in limiting home runs, boasting the lowest home runs per nine rate among qualified pitchers during that period.

Several factors contributed to his turnaround. Rodriguez adjusted his pitch mix, minimizing the use of his cutter, which opponents had capitalized on. He relied more on his four-seam fastball, which gained velocity, and improved the effectiveness of his changeup. Additionally, he increased his willingness to pitch in the strike zone, prioritizing getting ahead in counts over avoiding contact.

MLB: MAR 03 Spring Training - Orioles at Pirates

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