Kevin Rhoderick is Dealing, Who is He?

  It is our goal here at Born on Third to educate Cubs fans on the talent that sits at the minor league level.  With the way that Theo Epstein has molded this franchise it’s clear that the goal is to have as much talent as possible come from the draft and the farm system.  Wouldn’t you hate to be that one person that has no idea who just got called up to the Cubs?  It makes you look stupid, so don’t look stupid, and learn about the future of the Chicago Cubs here.  Today we feature Kevin Rhoderick.

  Kevin Rhoderick , or “K-Rod” is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher from Scottsdale, Arizona.  Rhoderick was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft from Horizon HS (Scottsdale, AZ).  Rhoderick was a stand out at Horizon High for head coach Eric Kisler as he was a three-time all region member and earned all-state honors twice.  Kevin’s senior year was a special one as he was named an All-American as he led his Horizon team to the State Championship where they won it all.  Instead of signing with the Tigers Rhoderick decided to go play baseball for Oregon State University. 

 K-Rod made an immediate impact as a Beaver as he was named to the NCBWA Freshman All-American first team, the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American team, the Baseball America Freshman All-American Second team, and received All-Pac-10 honorable mention, not bad for a Freshman.  Rhoderick didn’t have the same success he had as a Freshman during his Sophomore season, although he did have strong conference numbers.  Kevin recaptured the magic during his junior year as he once again received All-Pac-1o honorable mention while going 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA with four saves.  After his Junior year the Cubs selected Kevin in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur draft.

 On April 8, 2011 Rhoderick made his Chicago Cubs professional debut out of the bullpen for the Daytona Cubs.  Rhoderick was stellar out of the pen for the D-Cubs as he tossed 14.1 innings giving up only two earned runs on seven hits.  He was missing bats as well as he registered 19 strike outs over those 14.1 innings.  The Cubs were also impressed with his performance as they promoted Rhoderick to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies at the beginning of May.  The Smokies got much of the same results from Rhoderick as the D-Cubs were enjoying, although Kevin struggled just a bit.  This was to be expected as he was only one month into his professional career and already pitching at Double-A.  Rhoderick’s biggest issue was command, as he walked 37 guys in 57 innings of work.  That was the only issue for K-Rod as he finished the season at Tennessee with a 7-0 record and a 3.47 ERA.  I’m not sure Kevin knows what it feels like to get hit hard, as he only allowed 38 hits in those 57 innings of work.  The final numbers for K-Rod for 2011 were a record of 9-0 with a 3.03 ERA, with 77 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, and he only allowed a total of 45 hits.  After the season baseball america awarded Rhoderick with the “Best Slider” in the system award.

 Kevin started this year in Tennessee, and is still currently pitching for Tennessee in Double-A, but if he continues pitching the way he has he might have a spot in the Iowa Cubs bullpen or even the Chicago Cubs bullpen by September.  Un-hittable might be an understatement when describing Rhoderick’s 2012 season so far.  In 25.2 innings he has only given up two earned runs on 13 hits, he has a 0.70 ERA, and has seven saves.  Beyond impressive right now, what’s more impressive is he seems to be cutting down on the walks as he has only walked 12 guys so far this year compared to 24 strike outs.  In those 25.2 innings he has only given up one home run, in fact over his entire professional career to date (97 innings) he has only given up four home runs, four!  That is a valuable stat for a late inning guy, when he comes in you don’t have to worry about the long ball.

 I’m really excited to see Kevin’s progress this year as I think he has a great shot to help this organization and very soon too.  One of the Cubs biggest weaknesses is organizational pitching depth, and the bullpen has struggled this year as well.  This could be the perfect opportunity for Rhoderick to really get noticed by Cubs brass if he hasn’t already.

Thanks for reading,
– George