Originally Posted by dougdirt
With Rodriguez, I think his bat could play there, although in an unconventional manner. I think he could be more like a .300/.350/.425 hitter at third base with say 10-15 home runs. His defense isn't as good as that of Vidal, though I haven't seen anything from him this year that suggests he would hurt you there either. My main concern is that he isn't a prototypical 3B and that could lead to him being pigeonholed as a utility guy because of it.
This season, a 775 OPS would rank Henry Rodriguez seventh among all major league 3B. Assuming league average defense, that's got quite a bit of value. Add in that it's obp-heavy, and his wOBA would rank close to the top five.
Rodriguez would be an ideal #2 hitter in the Red lineup. He's a switch-hitter that has little in the way of splits. He's also shown the propensity to hit for power (though that hasn't shown much on the field). A career year of 25 homers wouldn't surprise me; 35 - 40 doubles per year wouldn't either. More importantly, his K rate isn't bad and he's earned a career BA north of 310.
He's also young-- 22 in AA. That may translate into more power as he fills out and begins to play against guys his own age.
Rodriguez is an underrated prospect, IMO, who profiles as a plus 2B or 3B in the major leagues, all things considered. His ceiling is that of an All Star level producer, and his floor is a positive contributor as a utility guy.
I'm guessing, after injury, Rodriguez will need some time in AA to get his bearings. (The hand injury may sap some power as well.) It wouldn't shock me to see Cincinnati move him up to Louisville at the end of the season, as neither team looks likely to make the playoffs.
That 10 - 20 game AAA cup of coffee may allow the Reds to start the major league season with Todd Frazier as 3B starter, and, if he struggles, to move Rodriguez there in May or June.
This depends largely on how Frazier adapts to playing 3B now-- he looks like his power is legitimate, but the strike outs are high. If the Reds think he's more Jay Bruce than Chris Heisey, Ridriguez can settle into the utility role Miguel Cairo now inhabits. Which wouldn't be all bad, certainly. (Though it may stunt his growth as a prospect.)
If Frazier can't find the strike zone moving forward, Rodriguez would be a natural choice to replace him. (With Vidal now playing AA 3B and almost as good a prospect, Rodriguez has a small window to be viewed as starter material.) As stated earlier, his bat makes the entire lineup better. It's part of what the Reds need-- a guy with a good stick who doesn't K too much.