Even New York City’s best high school baseball prospect can have a rough go of it in the big games and the big moments.
Wesley Rodriguez, the George Washington senior and Morris height resident, went 0-for-4 with three strikes outs against Poly Prep ace Nick Storz last Saturday.
“Baseball is a game of failure,” he sad. “It happens to the best of us.”
The final strikeout saw the infielder get caught looking at fastball on the outside corner with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning. It was the final out of the Trojans 5-2 loss to the Blue Devils in Bay Ridge. Rodriguez has the potential to be a high draft pick in this spring’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. He is batting .645 with five home runs and 18 RBI in PSAL play.
“He was making some great pitches the whole game to me,” Rodriguez said of Storz. “He’s making it difficult for me to hit.”
Rodriguez’s rough day wasn’t just at the plate. He made a diving play at first base, while being cleated on his left forearm by his pitcher Porfirio Brito. Bleeding and in pain, he still had the wherewithal to step on first for the double play.
“The pain of him stepping on my arm, it not a good pain,” Rodriguez said. “The pain came after that when I got up to step on first base. The pain just shocked me.”
It was all part of bad day in what has been a superb senior season that’s bringing him plenty of attention from MLB scouts. One from all 30 Major League teams, including Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski were watching him allow two hits and strikeout 16 over 7.1 innings in 1-0 win over James Monroe in the Bronx school’s tournament final in April. Rodriguez, who is committed to Pittsburgh, hits 98 miles per hour on the radar gun and throw six pitches.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Rodriguez pitched last Wednesday in a 10-0 win over Manhattan Center. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out 11 in 4.3 innings of work George Washington coach Steve Mandel didn’t give him the ball against Poly, arguably the city’s top club. Blue Devils coach Matt Roventini would have liked to see how his team matched up with him, but was happy not to have the potential headache of doing so.
“Knowing that his is throwing 97 I’m wasn’t upset that he didn’t step on the mound Roventini said. ”Disappointed, but not unhappy.”
Rodriguez credits his teammates for keeping him grounded with the attention and the expectations growing around him. It’s not easy being expected to dominate good lineup, crush baseball and get the big hit every time. He’s learned to block out everything outside the white line when a game is going on.
No matter what happens he enjoys the moments going against the best teams and players New York City had too offer.
“These are game I look forward too,” Rodriguez said. “I come to play every day, but these games are special.”
You can say the same about Rodriguez.