Grayson Rodriguez understands his South Atlantic League debut was another building block. And the addition of an off-speed pitch to his repertoire is proof the 19-year-old is committed to doing the work.Rodriguez struck out a career-high 10 batters over five innings in his full-season debut Friday as Class A Delmarva
Grayson Rodriguez understands his South Atlantic League debut was another building block. And the addition of an off-speed pitch to his repertoire is proof the 19-year-old is committed to doing the work.
Rodriguez struck out a career-high 10 batters over five innings in his full-season debut Friday as Class A Delmarva beat Lexington, 3-0, at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The Orioles' No. 5 prospect scattered two hits and two walks in the longest outing of his brief Minor League career.
"I was ready for it," Rodriguez said after his first professional win. "I got my first taste of professional ball in the Gulf Coast League last year and it was a good experience coming into tonight."
Gameday box score
Rodriguez shattered his previous high of five strikeouts, established in his final GCL start last Aug. 21.
"All of my pitches were working good, especially my changeup," said Rodriguez, who had three strikeouts in the first and fifth innings Friday. "That was something I developed and worked on over the offseason. I had great success with it tonight."
Rodriguez's fastball generally runs 92-94, although he touched the upper 90s in high school, and he has a nice slider and curveball. If the newly developed changeup continues to improve, he could be a four-pitch standout.
The Shorebirds gave the 6-foot-5 right-hander from Nacogdoches, Texas, a 2-0 lead in the second as Robert Neustrom scored on a wild pitch and Doran Turchin came home on a fielder's choice.
"It's a great feeling when the team is scoring runs," said Rodriguez, who threw 74 pitches, 46 for strikes. "That's huge early in the game. It gave me a confidence boost."
Neustrom provided insurance for the Shorebirds with a solo homer in the sixth.
"I feel like, in my mind, that I have to be confident in myself," Rodriguez said. "I've got to play to the best of my abilities. ... I'll try to get some sleep and get back to the grind tomorrow."
Delmarva pitchers totaled 15 strikeouts, with each Lexington batter fanning at least once. Matthew Hammonds followed Rodriguez with two hitless innings and Ofelky Peralta punched out a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Starter Zach Haake (0-1) took the loss for Lexington. He yielded two runs on two hits and three walks with four strikeouts in four innings.
Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB.