Name: Manny Rodriguez
Born: Brooklyn, New York
Age: 21 (7/04/1996)
Height/Weight: 5’10”/165 lbs.
School: University of Cincinnati
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Manny Rodriguez left the city and went on to attend Calvert Hall, a private boys Catholic school in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a four-time letter winner there, and was an integral part in helping the Cardinals win three MSA/MIAA “A” Conference Titles. He went undrafted and attended the University of Cincinnati. In his freshman year in 2015, he appeared in all 56 games the team played, starting 55 times and hitting a lackluster .223/.278/.283. As a sophomore, he played in 51 games and hit .219/.283/.305. He missed time due to labrum surgery in 2017, but got back on the field before the season ended and wound up playing in 38 games, where he hit .242/.297/.331. A senior with his back pressed against the wall, Rodriguez changed his swing to increase his launch angle. The move paid dividends, as he hit .292/.374/.589, launching 12 home runs and shattering all of his previous offensive career highs. Incredibly, he reached base in all 50 games he played this past season, logging a hit, drawing a walk, or getting hit by a pitch.
Rodriguez has become more aggressive at the plate, attacking fastballs and pitches he knows he can drive. This has contributed to his power exploding but has also increased his strikeout rate. The added power has made pitchers more weary around him, increasing his walk rate as well.
Defensively, Rodriguez has all of the tools needed to stay at shortstop for years to come. His slender, wiry build has plenty of quick twitch muscle. He has quick feet and displays excellent range at shortstop. His hands are soft, his body and glove transfer are smooth, and he possesses an above-average throwing arm.