Daniel Rodríguez (minors01)
Héctor Daniel Rodríguez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 195 lb.
Pitcher Daniel Rodríguez began his professional career in 2006. He won four strikeout titles in his first eight years as a pro.
He played in the Mexican League in his first seven seasons. He was 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 games for the 2006 Saraperos de Saltillo. In 2007, he improved to 7-2, 3.94. He made the Mexican national team for the 2007 Baseball World Cup, losing to Team USA and Cuba and getting a no-decision versus Taiwan. He finished with a 5.54 ERA with 8 walks in 13 IP. He tied nine others for the event lead in losses.
In winter ball with the Mexican Pacific League, he was 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA for the Tomateros de Culiacán in 2007-2008. The following summer, he had a 2-2, 5.20 record and 1.99 WHIP for Saltillo but had a strong winter with the Tomateros (4-4, 3.64). Had he qualified, he would have been 5th in the LMP in ERA. He led with 64 whiffs, one ahead of the great Francisco Campos.
Going 7-9 with a 5.98 ERA for Saltillo in 2009, he tied for 5th in the Mexican League in losses. He again was sharper in winter ball (4-2, 2.39); had he qualified, he would have edged Pablo Ortega for the ERA title. In 2010, the 25-year-old lefty was 4-4 with a 3.97 ERA with the Saraperos but was 5-0 in the postseason including 1-0, 0.75 in the finals to be named Finals MVP. He was 2-4 with a 5.26 ERA for the 2010-2011 Tomateros. In the summer of 2011, he was 4-5 with a 4.24 ERA but led the Mexican League with 118 whiffs, 5 more than Campos. He also led with 75 walks, though, 11 more than Dan Serafini.
Daniel was 0-1 with a 4.36 ERA in the 2011 Pan American Games, holding Panama to one run in six in a no-decision but losing to eventual champion Canada. The host Mexicans wound up with a 4th-place finish. He was 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA for Culiacán in 2011-2012, striking out 72 in 61 innings. For the third time, he beat out Campos for a strikeout title, this time by three.
2012 was his best season to that point -- with the Saraperos de Saltillo, he was 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 10.2 K/9 IP ratio in 20 starts. He finished 5th in ERA (between Miguel Ramírez and Tomas Solis), tied for 4th in wins (behind Humberto Montemayor, Solis and Walter Silva) and again led in strikeouts (135, 12 ahead of #2 Ramon Ramirez). When the Mexican League season ended, hee was signed by the Atlanta Braves on August 14. The scouts were Johnny Almaraz and Manny Samaniego. With the Gwinnett Braves, he had a 1.50 ERA in six innings for a total season mark of 2.49. He fell to 1-2, 6.52 that winter for the Tomateros.
When Mexican League teams refused to release players for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the Sinaloa native got a break due to being in the Braves system at the time. He pitched in one game, representing Mexico in his third different event. In a 10-3 loss to Canada that eliminated Mexico, he relieved Dennys Reyes with a 6-3 deficit, the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 7th. He retired Jimmy Van Ostrand on a run-scoring grounder and Pete Orr on a grounder to escape further harm. In the 8th, he fanned Cale Iorg and Tyson Gillies but Taylor Green singled, Joey Votto walked and Justin Morneau had a RBI single. With Michael Saunders at the plate, Arnold León relieved Rodríguez but allowed Votto to score.
With Gwinnett in 2013, Daniel was 3-3 with a 5.77 ERA, striking out 55 in 53 innings but walking 38 before a left elbow strain ended his season in early June. He returned to action in the winter with Culiacán and had a 0-1, 2.05 record with 30 K in 26 1/3 IP. He went 6-13 with a 5.04 ERA for Gwinnett in 2014, striking out 111 in 125 innings and cutting his walk rate, with 49. He was third in the 2014 International League in losses (one behind Derek Hankins and Adam Wilk) and tied Anthony Ranaudo for 10th in strikeouts. He was 3-2 with a 3.14 ERA for the 2014-2015 Tomateros. He allowed one run in one inning in the 2015 Caribbean Series.
After playing in affiliated ball through early 2015 (0 R in 1 2/3 for the Baltimore Orioles' Norfolk Tides in 2015), he returned to the Mexican League partway through that campaign. He was 2-1 with a save and a 3.16 ERA in 33 games for Saltillo. With the Tomateros in 2015-2016, he was 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA. He was 5th in ERA (between Hector Velazquez and Nate Reed), tied Silva for second in wins (one behind Javier Solano) and was third with 62 whiffs (behind Solano and Reed). In the 2016 Caribbean Series, he reinforced the Venados de Mazatlán and starred, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He beat the Leones del Escogido and then topped the Tigres de Ciego de Ávila in the semifinals as the Venados won the title. He led the Series in wins and tied Edwar Cabrera and Freddy Garcia for first in strikeouts.
In the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he got the nod in the championship game, with a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic at stake. He pitched 2 2/3 innings (2 H, 2 BB, 3 K) of shutout ball against Nicaragua before Carlos Bustamante relieved; Rodríguez got the win as Mexico won their pool. For the 2016 Saraperos, he posted a 9-4, 3.95 record and was 4th in the Mexican League with 112 strikeouts (between Velazquez and Juan Pablo Oramas). He moved to the Cañeros de Los Mochis for the winter and went 4-6 with a 3.50 ERA. He tied for third in losses and was 5th with 61 strikeouts (between Zack Dodson and Efren Delgado).