The answer is a rotund yes: Alfredo Rodríguez will make it to the Major League, but it doesn’t mean that he will have a guaranteed shining career.
But given that this is the dream that thousands of baseball players all over the world strive for, the shortstop is in privileged territory.
Many laughed when they saw him on the list of 25 talented Cubans to watch in 2015. Some even asked: “so who is this guy?”
Alfredo made sure to answer them a month later, with a remarkable performance playing with his Isla de la Juventud team.
“I have worked really hard in training going up against pitchers and watching them pitch. So, when I go into a match the pitching doesn’t surprise me so much. I think that’s where the success is,” said Rodríguez in an exclusive to OnCuba in answer to a question about what he was doing to control the strike zone.
The commentators of American Baseball magazine locate the 21-year old Havana native as on the point of signing a contract with a Major League team. However, he has worked on his contact and his power, which could produce a qualitative leap in the offensive line (265/301/284) as demonstrated in his rookie year in Cuba.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and doing strength-building exercises. In the game I have managed to develop a real batting strength which has really impressed me. I never considered my touch bad, but now I’ve refined it thanks to my training and the help of my trainer Javier, I’ve managed to get much better on the home plate,” said Rodríguez.
This January Alfredo hopes to be a free agent. “They tell me it won’t happen this month. I hope it comes to me soon”. The Rookie of the Year 2014-2015 has left clear evidence of his unequivocal defensive power and he hopes to sign whenever the moment arises.
His contract won’t be of the highest paying ones, given that he’s not 23 years old yet, and he hasn’t played his fifth National Series. With so many teams unable to hire foreing players at the moment due to sanctions, experts estimate that in the case of Rodríguez it would be better to be contracted after July 2nd, 2016. By then, the sanction period will have expired for most of the teams, and Rodriguez will have more opportunities to land a better contract.
“I’ll sign when God wants it to happen. It doesn’t matter if it is now or in July. I believe that when a team wants to sign you and is interested it will give the money it has to for the player, so in that respect I don’t have a problem. I am ready for the day to come, whenever it is. I am going to carry on training hard and preparing myself.”
Alfredo Rodríguez’s offensive game still raises doubts. He will have time in the Minor League to correct and perfect his talent. If he manages to do it, he will be a proper player in the MLB.