The move brings to an end Rodriguez’s first taste of big league action in his career. The club’s first-round pick in 2018 and a consensus top-10 prospect entering the season, Rodriguez has struggled badly to this point in the majors. The hard-throwing righty sports a ugly 7.35 ERA, 41% worse than league average by measure of ERA+, and a 5.94 FIP in ten starts this season. While a 26.5% strikeout rate is excellent, Rodriguez’s 10% walk rate is well below league average. Most concerning of all, however, is the frequency with which Rodriguez has given up hard contact. The youngster’s average exit velocity, HardHit%, and Barrel% are all in the tenth percentile or worse among qualified players this season.
Rodriguez’s struggles this season have been particularly pronounced since the calendar flipped to May. In five starts this month, Rodriguez has allowed 27 runs (26 earned) with nearly as many combined walks (10) and home runs (11) as strikeouts (22) while pitching into the sixth inning just once and failing to finish the fourth inning three times. All that adds up to a brutal 11.14 ERA with a 20.8% strikeout rate and a 9.43 FIP in 21 innings of work.
Given Rodriguez’s deep struggles, it’s impossible to know when his next big league opportunity will be. That said, Rodriguez obviously has incredible talent, and is far from the only starter struggling for the Orioles this season. Offseason acquisition Cole Irvin is currently in Triple-A himself after posting a 10.38 ERA in 13 innings of work, while Tyler Wells sports a FIP north of 5.00 despite his solid 3.47 ERA. Dean Kremer (94 ERA+) and Kyle Bradish (100 ERA+) have both been roughly league average to this point in the season, leaving offseason signing Kyle Gibson as the club’s only properly above average starter, with a 3.82 ERA and 4.18 FIP in 66 innings of work.
Replacing Rodriguez on the active roster is Akin, who turned in a quality season as a reliever last year, with a 3.20 ERA and 3.59 FIP in 81 2/3 innings of work. The 28-year-old lefty struggled somewhat with a 5.91 ERA in 10 2/3 innings of work at the big league level this season, but a 3.76 FIP indicates his underlying performance may have been better than the results would indicate. In seven innings of work at the Triple-A level, Akin has dominated to a 1.29 ERA with thirteen strikeouts.