Our first fantasy reliever is previously injured fireballer Henry Rodriguez. The Nationals acquired him a few years ago along with Corey Brown in exchange for Josh Willingham. He has been enigmatic to say the least, with flashes of brilliance on his 100mph fastball, but also embarrassing lacks of control. Formerly the closer, Rodriguez has been pushed far down the pecking order. His projections reflect his precipitous decline:
ZiPS: 51.2 IP, 58 K, 33 BB, 3.66 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
MLB.com: 55 IP, 58 K, 27 BB, 4.58 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
CBSSports: 41 IP, 45 K, 27 BB, 4.39 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
ESPN Fantasy: 40 IP, 43 K, 28 BB, 4.28 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Averages: 47 IP, 51 K, 29 BB, 4.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Apart from one somewhat optimistic projection, our projectors have an unfavorable view of Rodriguez’s shot this year, which might be his last chance to make his mark in the majors. The average projects him to have a sky-high 5.12 BB/9, and this lack of control will likely be his undoing. As some may remember from 2011, Rodriguez earned his nickname of SMH-Rod by making every save an adventure with his walks and wild pitches. If he can’t improve the problems that plagued him in the past, and there isn’t much reason to think he will, his time with the Nats, at least at the major league level, will likely be over. If he discovers anything resembling control, however, his overpowering fastball will make him at least slightly useful. In fantasy, he has next to no value, except in absurdly deep NL-only leagues that place a ton of emphasis on strikeouts and nothing else. On the Nats, he’ll be the last man in the pen and first to be replaced, perhaps by minor league reliever Erik Davis or veteran lefty Bill Bray.