Grayson Rodriguez Joins the Just Baseball Show

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez sits down with Peter and Aram for episode 626 of the Just Baseball Show.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 08: Grayson Rodriguez #30 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts against the Texas Rangers during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 08, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Entering his second major league season, Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez is looking to build off his strong finish to 2023. Last season was certainly a tale of two halves for Rodriguez.

During the first half of last year he had a 7.35 ERA in 45 innings. However, he was able to bounce back in the second half. Pitching to a 2.58 ERA in 76 innings and holding opposing players to a .590 OPS. Rodriguez was one of the best pitchers in the second half last season. He now looks to continue his development in 2024.

On March 5th, Rodriguez joined Peter Appel and Aram Leighton for episode No. 626 of the Just Baseball Show, where he discussed everything from how last year went to what’s in store for the upcoming season in Baltimore.

Rodriguez has made two appearances so far this spring training. Rodriguez tells Peter and Aram that he is focusing a lot on attacking the strike zone. Finding the strike zone played a large role in his success in the second half last year. He was able to go from throwing 62.3% of his pitches for strikes to 68.5% from the first half to the second half last season.

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A little later in the interview, Peter notes that Rodriguez’s fastball looked to have a different profile this spring compared to last season. This led to an interesting nugget of information, which is that Rodriguez is working on a two-seam fastball for this season.

A two-seam fastball for Rodriguez will likely replace his cutter which he all but abandoned last year. He threw his cutter 12.3% of the time in the first half last season but that number fell to 1% in the second half. The usage fell for good reason, hitters absolutely demolished it. Opponents slugged .842 against his cutter. A two-seam fastball could help Rodriguez keep hitters off balance by providing a different profile than his four-seam.

Other Notes from the Interview:

  • The new left field in Camden Yards and Austin Hays playing defense out there.
  • Playing with Corbin Burnes and Kyle Bradish.
  • Coming up as a prospect in the Orioles farm system.
  • What was learned after the success of last season.
  • What it is like having Adley Rutschman in the club house.
  • Growing up playing baseball in a baseball family.
  • Superstitions.
  • Toughest at-bat that he has seen.

As an Orioles fan listening to this interview one thing is incredibly clear, the vibes are high in Baltimore. Obviously with a team this young a lot of the guys have come up together but it sounds like even the veterans are meshing very well with this new young core.

Near the end of the interview, Peter notes that in starts last season Rodriguez showed flashes of just how good he could be. Especially if you watched some of his starts in the second half of last season, you saw a pitcher with immense potential. Orioles fans have a lot to be excited about when it comes to watching Rodriguez on the bump in the coming years.

Side Note: Make sure you are keeping up with the Just Baseball Show as the Futures episode is coming out soon. Could we see Grayson Rodriguez as a potential dark horse AL Cy Young pick?

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This interview is a great listen for not only Orioles fans but for all baseball fans. Go give the interview a listen on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast!

Of course you can also watch the interview over on YouTube as well.