Drafted in the second round in 2012, Paco Rodriguez was the first member of his draft class to reach the Major Leagues. The former Florida Gator made just 21 appearances in the Minors before debuting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in September of 2012.
Rodriguez ended up pitching 6.2 innings and allowed just one run while striking out six. The following year, he made the team out of Spring Training and ended up being one of the Dodgers’ best relievers.
Rodriguez appeared in 76 games, pitched 54.1 innings and posted a 2.32 ERA. Unfortunately, the heavy workload caught up with the southpaw at the end of the year and he struggled in September and the postseason.
As 2014 rolled around, it became uncertain if Rodriguez would make the Opening Day roster. He’d pitched well in 2013, but Ned Colletti amassed a bullpen filled with veterans and Rodriguez had options.
While he did make the team out of Spring Training, it was only due to an open spot available because of an injury, and he was relegated to the minors before the middle of April. Rodriguez returned to the Majors four times, not staying longer than a few days until September rolled around.
In the meantime, Rodriguez pitched with Triple-A Albuquerque, where he put up a 4.40 ERA in 32 games. Unfortunately, toward the end of the year, Rodriguez suffered a back injury that ended up costing him a playoff roster spot.
Rodriguez was fortunate enough to travel with the club to Australia for the Opening Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched in the second game, recording a pair of outs without allowing any runs. In a year that was so unpredictable for him, this must have been both a pleasant surprise and unforgettable moment.
On talent alone, Rodriguez should make the bullpen at the outset of the 2015 season. The Dodgers already have a handful of veterans with guaranteed contracts heading into the year, but with Chris Perez leaving, it would make sense for Rodriguez to take his spot.