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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 6: José Rodríguez

This slugging shortstop was the superstar of the system a season ago.

Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox
The bat is clearly no issue for José Rodríguez. To become a truly elite prospect, he’ll need to settle into a spot on the diamond.
Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

José Rodríguez
175 pounds
Age: 20
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 32
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 18
SSS rank among all shortstops in the system: 2

José Rodríguez, a Dominican native, received a signing bonus from the White Sox in February 2018 and was inserted into the DSL lineup just a few months later. He turned out to be was one of the few bright spots on a miserable 2018 DSL squad, slashing .291/.318/.401 in 60 games with 13 doubles, three triples, two homers, 23 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, nine walks (3.8%) and 29 strikeouts (12.1%). Rodríguez even participated in that year’s DSL All-Star game.

With the AZL White Sox in 2019, Rodríguez started hitting more homers while avoiding any significant decline in any of the other batting categories (besides strikeouts). In 44 games spanning 188 at-bats, “Popeye” slashed .293/.328/.505 while producing seven doubles, three triples, nine homers, 31 RBIs, seven stolen bases, nine walks (4.5%) and 45 strikeouts (22.5%). He walloped southpaws by slashing .423/.423/.788.

Unfazed by the 2020 pandemic shutdown, Rodríguez picked up in 2021 right where he left off back in Arizona. Versus competition more than a year older than he, all he did was slash .283/.328/.452 in 78 games with Kannapolis while producing 22 doubles, four triples, nine homers, 20 stolen bases, 21 walks (5.8%), 57 strikeouts (15.8%) and 109 wRC+. Rodríguez was undeterred against the older and more advanced competition after being promoted to Winston-Salem, as he slashed an amazing .361/.381/.538 in 29 games while contributing four doubles, one triple, five homers, 10 stolen bases, five walks (4.0%), 13 strikeouts (10.3%) and wRC+ of 141. He did struggle a bit in a final, four-game cup of coffee with Birmingham by slashing just .214/.214.286, but it was an extremely small sample size — and he was playing against competition 4 1⁄2 years older!

Combined with all three teams, Popeye slashed .301/.338/.469 spanning 111 games with 27 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 30 stolen bases, 26 walks (5.2%) and 72 strikeouts (14.4%) and was named the South Side Sox Minor League Player of the Year. It is important to know that, despite the fact that he entered more games than the previous two years combined, Rodríguez seemed to get better as the season progressed.

The only weaknesses in Rodríguez’s game may be his unwillingness to take walks, and the number of errors he committed defensively (27) this year. As for his defense, it could be chalked up to youthful exuberance, as he may simply need work on setting his feet when ready to throw. There are concerns that his aggressiveness may be exploited in Birmingham and Charlotte, but the similar issues have plagued Tim Anderson in the past as well, with little to no lasting effect. MLB Pipeline ranks all of his scouting categories as 50s.

According to Baseball-Reference, Rodríguez’s range factor was significantly better at second base than shortstop. While second may be his eventual home, the team will still give Rodríguez every opportunity to improve his game at shortstop.

Expect that 2022 opportunity to begin with Birmingham, with an chance for promotion to Charlotte if all goes well.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

6. José Rodríguez, SS
7. Wes Kath, 3B
8. Erick Hernández, LF
9. Jared Kelley, RHSP
10. Bryan Ramos, 3B
11. Matthew Thompson, RHSP
12. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
13. Micker Adolfo, RF
14. Yolbert Sánchez, 2B
15. Romy González, SS
16. Sean Burke, RHSP
17. Jimmy Lambert, RHSP
18. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
19. Luis Mieses, RF
20. Kade McClure, RHSP
21. Tanner McDougal, RHSP
22. Jason Bilous, RHSP
23. Wilfred Veras, 1B
24. Lenyn Sosa, SS
25. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
26. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
27. Misael González, RF
28. Terrell Tatum, CF
29. Carlos Pérez, C
30. Bennett Sousa, LHRP
31. Luis Basabe, RF
32. McKinley Moore, RHRP
33. Emilio Vargas, RHSP
34. Blake Rutherford, LF
35. Anderson Severino, LHRP
36. DJ Gladney, 3B
37. Luke Shilling, RHRP
38. Chase Krogman, LF
39. Cristian Mena, RHSP
40. Benyamín Bailey, LF
41. Tyler Johnson, RHRP
42. Andrew Perez, LHRP
43. Tyler Neslony, LF
44. Theo Denlinger, RHRP
45. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
46. Jefferson Mendoza, C
47. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
48. Gil Luna Jr. LHRP
49. John Parke, LHSP
50. Victor Quezada, 3B
51. Haylen Green, LHRP
52. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
53. Yoelvin Polanco, RHRP
54. Taylor Broadway, RHRP
55. Noah Owen, RHRP
56. Luis Curbelo, 3B
57. Bryce Bush, RF
58. James Beard, CF
59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP