Yariel Rodríguez: “I have one dream and that is to play for a Major League team.

Yesterday Yariel Rodriguez (26) had another excellent showcase in front of the 30 MLB teams. He faced experienced hitters such as Abraham Almonte and the Giants prospect, Marco Luciano at Santo Domingo’s Quisqueya Stadium. He again exhibited an array pitches and his fastball was between 94-97 MPH. There are about 4-5 teams actively in the bid for Rodriguez, per sources.

The colleague Francys Romero was there to witness the tryout and interview Rodriguez. His teammate in the World Baseball Classic, Luis Robert Jr. was present in the stands of Quisqueya stadium to witness the showcase and came down to greet his friend after all was said and done. Rodriguez is represented by Edgar Mercedes and Born To Play.

Below is the velocity of Rodriguez’s pitches during the showcase:

FB: 94-97
SL: 85-88
Split: 88-89

According to scouting reports, the “Gallero de San Serapio” is valued at 50 million and does not have any type of restriction impeding his possible signing because he is over 25 years old and has played six years in a professional league. Rodríguez was solid and borderlining spectacular in his starts during the World Classic.

In the tournament the righty tossed 7⅓ allowing two earned runs and striking out 10 batters. Although he did not factor in any decision he posted a 2.45 earned run average, but did walk an alarming six batters during his two starts in the competition.

In 54.2 innings of work last season in the NPB Rodriguez gave up only seven earned runs. The right-hander had a 1.15 earned run average during 2022 and fanned 60, while only walking 18. During that campaign he did not allow a long ball and was named the reliever of the year in the land of the rising sun. The righty also tallied 39 holds and notched six victories in 2022. The only reason the Rodriguez was not the team’s closer was because Raidel Martínez his countrymen held that role.

The flamethrower’s fastball hit 100 miles per hour on the radar during one of his outings with the Chunichi last season. We will have to wait and see which organizations are interested in him and what role he will be assigned upon signing with a ballclub.

Here is a transcript of the interview between Romero and Rodriguez:

How did you do out there today, how did you evaluate your performance against professional players, even prospects like Marcos Luciano?

At first I felt a little tense, due to the situation, it was a very important day for me, also a special day for me and that is why I was a little tense at the beginning. Afterwards I made the adjustments and I felt pretty good, confident and above all strong, which is the most important thing.

What was it about that first inning that you couldn’t find your rhythm?

As I told you at the beginning, I was a little tense, due to the situation. It is a very important day for my sports career, then I relaxed a little, I did my job and did what I have always done.

You have pitched in the Classic and in the Japan Professional League (NPB). What is the difference with this atmosphere of 30 teams looking at you? How is that pressure you felt today comparable to a stadium with an audience for example?

Well, it’s a little different, it’s like you say, it’s not a crucial day, but it’s one’s career, one’s career of many years. There were many baseball experts here, all eyes were on one, but nothing, I made my adjustments, I relaxed a little and came out and did my job, thank God.
Since you left Cuba in March until the current date you were trying to secure your release from Chunichi, but you were inactive for a long time, yet you have maintained your velocity. How have you managed to do that?
Since I arrived here in the Dominican Republic I kept practicing all the time, from the beginning until the present days, with great intensity, with my mentality set on this day. Since I arrived here I had this great day set in my heart and in my mind. That with God and with the help of my family, my brothers, my friends who have been here with me at all times, we would reach this day and thank God everything turned out well.

What level of talent are the hitters you faced today, Almonte, Luciano?

They are very skilled and talented, they are athletes who play at a high level and I really felt like I faced top competition today.

Amongst scouts there was some confusion whether you are a starter or a reliever, you have shown that you can pitch four or five innings in your showcases, I imagine that is why you have been pitching so many innings in your showcases.

Exactly, I have been working to be a starter since the Classic. I showed in that event that I had the ability to be a starter on any Major League team and I hope that is the case. I hop that the teams value it and I hope to be a starter in a near future on an MLB team.

You have a lot of followers in Japan because of your past with the Chunichi Dragons, what do you have to say to those fans that you still have there in Japan?

To all the fans of Japan, Cuba and the whole world who follow me, thank you for being there for me, thank you for supporting me. I will always give 100% of myself. To the Dragons fans as well, I would like to say that I support them from wherever I am in the world.I will always support them because a part of my heart stayed there in Nagoya.
Since you left the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic, many things have happened, why did you decide to take this step last March?

Well, I decided to take the step because I thought it was time.I was old enough and have the ability to pitch in the majors. I have a dream, a very big dream. I left to fulfill my dream and I’m going after it. I want to play on a big league team. I want to do great things with my life and my sports career.”

*The video interview in its entirety can also be found on Francys Romero’s Facebook Page.

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