Who is Grayson Rodriguez?

April 4th, 2022

Grayson Rodriguez was selected No. 11 overall by the Orioles in 2018, and is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. But who is Grayson Rodriguez? Here's what to know about the right-handed pitcher from Texas:


MLB organization: Orioles

Birthdate: Nov. 16, 1999 (Age 22 in 2022)

Primary position: P

Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 220 lbs.

Bats/throws: left/right

Hometown: Nacogdoches, Texas

School(s): Central Heights (TX.) HS

Drafted: 11th overall, 2018 (by BAL)

He can kick a 40-yard field goal

Rodriguez’s arm got him to the brink of the big leagues. His leg isn’t so bad either. The 22-year-old can throw a 95 mph-plus fastball with his right arm and kicks 40-yard field goals with his left leg.

He once broke Adley Rutchsman's glove during a game

As stated above, Rodriguez throws gas. During a game on June 20 in Bowie last year, the right hander broke Orioles top prospect Adley Rutschman's glove with a 99 mph fastball.

He should make his Major League debut in 2022

Rodriguez is the top pitching prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, and he’s expected to debut in 2022. He will begin his season at Triple-A Norfolk, just one step away from the big leagues. Already featuring nasty stuff, if he can refine his command in the coming months, Orioles fans will be watching their future ace in Camden Yards in no time.

He makes up half of perhaps the best future battery in baseball

Rodriguez is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Orioles' No. 2 prospect behind catcher Adley Rutschman. MLB Pipeline has Rutschman as the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball. The pair makes up what is maybe the best pitcher-catcher prospect combo in the sport. Rutschman, who is also expected to make his debut in 2022, had high praise for Rodriguez when he spoke with MLB.com in March.

“The stuff, first, is elite. And then from a mental standpoint, he's one of those guys that just continues to work on his craft,” Rutschman said. “He gets better every day and comes to the field. You see the work ethic and then you see the stuff, and when you combine the two it’s just a really great player and also a great person.”

He was named the Double-A Northeast Pitcher of the Year and top Right-Handed Starting Pitcher in 2021

Rodriguez posted a 6-1 record while pitching in 18 games following a May promotion to Double-A Bowie Baysox. The right-hander started the season with a 3-0 record for High-A Aberdeen. He posted a 2.60 ERA with 121 strikeouts over 79.2 innings pitched while with Bowie. He held opponents to a .165 batting average while giving up just 47 hits and walking 22.

His footwear when he takes the mound is a bit unusual

Rodriguez wears basketball shoes with cleats attached to them instead of traditional baseball cleats. The comfort they provide, Rodriguez says, is unmatched. 

“I prefer the basketball shoes, because they have a little bit flatter base and sole,” Rodriguez explained to FanGraphs’ David Laurila recently. “The more ground contact that your foot has, the more force and power you can create. A company called Custom Cleats makes them for me. You just send in basketball shoes, or whatever kind of shoes you want, and they’ll slap some spikes on the bottom and send them back. [Fellow Orioles pitching prospect] D.L. Hall gets them as well.”

He made his spring debut with a childhood hero behind the plate

Rodriguez grew up a Texas Rangers fan during the team's successful run from 2010-16, during which Robinson Chirinos served as a backstop. In his spring debut on March 21, Chirinos was behind the plate. Rodriguez allowed four runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two across 1 ⅓ innings against the Minnesota Twins. After a scoreless third inning, Rodriguez allowed four runs, recording just one out in the fourth.