“Anybody in their right mind would want to start like that,” said Sean Rodriguez of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rodriguez, who is competing for a utility position is off to a sizzling start for the Rays. In three games, he has three home runs, a triple and a double in his first six at bats. On Wednesday, in his first ever game for the Rays, he hit a pinch hit homer batting for Kelly Shoppach. On Thursday, Rodriguez got his first start and homered in his first at bat in the Rays 6-5 win over the Orioles.
Today, Rodriguez traveled to Steinbrenner Field (with BallparkBob in the stands seeking fantasy baseball tips for you) in the shadows of where the Buccaneers play on Sundays. With a more famous Rodriguez playing the infield for the other team, Sean Rodriguez swatted a first inning homerun off of Phil Hughes then followed Jason Bartlett with back to back triples, then doubled in the Rays 13-7 win over the Yankees. Rodriguez was pulled before his fourth at bat needing only a single to hit for the cycle. I guess that explains just how important Grapefruit League games are.
Sean Rodriguez will compete with Ben Zobrist, Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson for the starting second base job. Or, if Zobrist becomes the starter at second as expected, Rodriguez will compete with Brignac and Johnson for a utility-infield job. Staking claim to the utility role might come down to the candidate who can best play shortstop, since there has been discussion about relieving Zobrist of the backup shortstop duties when the Rays give Bartlett a spell.
Sean Rodriguez was acquired from the Angels as the biggest name that came to Tampa in the Scott Kazmir deal. Rodriguez, 24, and a native of Miami, has 192 career at bats with a .203 batting average and 5 homers. He put up big numbers last year in Triple-A where he swatted 30 homers and hit .299. That comes off of a 21 homerun year in 2008 and 17 homeruns in 2007.
Sean Rodriguez, Fantasy Baseball 2010 Projection
If Sean Rodriguez keeps playing like this, the Rays will have no choice but to give him an infield spot at second base. It is starting to be clear that Rodriguez’s power will translate to the majors this year. A move of Ben Zobrist to the outfield may not be far off. Keep your eye on Rodriguez for the rest of spring training.
It’s still too early to tell whether Rodriguez will start another year in the minors or be a major contributor to your 2010 fantasy baseball team. Rodriguez could add some serious punch to a weak second base position.