Sunday, March 24, 2013

Phils Deal RHP Rodriguez to O's for OF Welty

The disassembling of the prospect group known as the Baby Aces continues, as the Phillies have traded once highly regarded righty hurler Julio Rodriguez to Baltimore for outfielder Ronnie Welty.

Rodriguez once dominated Class A ball, but looked far more human with Double-A Reading last season. Drafted in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft, the Puerto Rican born pitcher finished with an overall record of 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA and a .175 batting average against in 20 outings with Williamsport and Lakewood in 2010. The following season, Rodriguez was named a Florida State League All-Star, as he finished with a league leading 16 wins, a 2.76 ERA that was second best in the league and a .186 batting average against. Over those two seasons, he averaged a 10.71 K/9 mark.

Last year in the Eastern League, Rodriguez wrapped up his 2012 regular season campaign with a 7-7 record, a 4.23 ERA and a .243 batting average against, following a difficult eight-game stretch (6.81 ERA) that got him moved from the starting rotation into the bullpen.

Welty, a righty batter that was selected in the 20th round of the 2008 draft, had a very good season last year, as he sported a .333/.373/.662 line, playing most of his games at Double-A in an injury shortened season (56 games played). The 25-year-old stands 6-foot-3 and weighs around 200 pounds.

Regarding the 22-year-old Rodriguez, it seemed as though the opinions of many had dropped a considerable amount, when his walk rate shot up nearly two full free passes per nine innings, as he took the leap from Clearwater to Reading last year. And following this week's news that outfielder Jiwan James would miss a lengthy stretch following left knee surgery, the Phillies found themselves with a void to fill in the upper levels of the developmental system.

Welty could likely begin the season manning the outfield for Reading. Mainly a right fielder, the Chandler-Gilbert Community College product has played a combined 49 professional regular season contests in center and left field.

Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan previously worked in the Baltimore organization. Welty joins the likes of catcher Justin Dalles, who also played with the Orioles under Jordan, that the Phils have added for organizational depth since last season.

The Phillies traded another Baby Ace, Trevor May, in recent months, along with Vance Worley to Minnesota for outfielder Ben Revere. Additionally, another of the Phils' once highly rated young pitchers Brody Colvin has taken himself out of consideration as a fast rising prospect, having produced increasingly inconsistent statistics in recent seasons. Righty Jonathan Pettibone remains as the group's lone standout, as he spent some time with the big league club in spring training this year, and should be waiting in the wings at Triple-A, if the Phillies' rotation as an opening this season.
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