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Rockies prospect rankings: No. 26 Wilfredo Rodriguez displays good tools behind the plate

Rodriguez is a strong contact hitter who has a chance to develop some pop, but he needs to stay behind the plate to make the bat play.

Charlie Drysdale

Editor's note: We've made a change with the PuRPs list this year, deciding to unveil each player individually over the course of a few weeks. To keep track of the list, keep checking our PuRPs list StoryStream.

PuRP No. 26: Wilfredo Rodriguez (81 points, 10 ballots) | Summer 2014 Ranking: 22 | High Ballot 17, Mode Ballot 22

Rodriguez, a 20-year-old catcher who spent the year at Low-A Asheville, has proven that his contact tool plays in full-season ball. The Puerto Rican had a .310/.359/.399 line (112 wRC+) while striking out in only 10.5 percent of his 315 plate appearances. Unlike many who excel in Asheville, Rodriguez didn't have big home/road splits (.319/.377/.403 home, .299/.340/.394 road). Obviously, he doesn't display a lot of power (and may never do so), but there's a lot to like in his game.

Context here is important; Rodriguez was a year and a half younger than the average player in the SAL and was playing the most challenging position for a young player. Thus, the above line is actually pretty decent. Rodriguez has received decent reviews for his ability behind the plate as a receiver, though he only threw out 14 percent of would-be base stealers in 2014.

Before the season, Jon Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked Rodriguez 20th in Colorado's system:

I have liked this guy since he was a high school catcher in Puerto Rico. Still rather raw, but has good defensive tools and a chance to be a solid hitter for average with moderate power. Controls the strike zone well.

The receiving abilities and the high-contact/low-strikeout offense earned him the 22nd spot on my ballot. Of course, his value is tied very much to his ability to stay behind the plate. Players with that kind of offensive profile (very Jordan Pacheco-esque) need defensive utility to continue to advance. Admittedly, other catchers in the system seemed to have moved ahead of Rodriguez in the eyes of prospect hounds and the voters of this list. If Rodriguez continues as a catcher and develops a little more power, he will get some more prospect love.

Contract Status: 2012 seventh round, not Rule 5 eligible, three options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2017