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2015 Red Sox top prospect voting #4: Eduardo Rodriguez, lefty the second

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

If there's one thing the Red Sox farm system does not want for, it's left-handed pitching. Coming right on the tail of Henry Owens is another southpaw in Eduardo Rodriguez, taking his slot at #3 on our top-20 prospects list.

  1. Blake Swihart, C
  2. Henry Owens, LHP
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

The first newcomer to the system to make the list, Rodriguez came over from Baltimore in exchange for Andrew Miller at the trade deadline. When he arrived, Rodriguez was a top-100 prospect--or at least, had been ranked around the 60s by most major ranking systems before the season started--in the midst of his worst season ever. 83 innings into 2014, and Rodriguez held a 4.79 ERA with the highest walk rate he'd seen since his first full year in professional baseball.

The old "change of scenery" might well be the snake oil elixir of the sporting world. Whenever a player with promise or past success is struggling, a simple change in laundry is somehow seen as having a legitimate chance to turn everything around. With Eduardo Rodriguez, it's probably more to do with distance from an early-season knee injury, but the before and after here is pretty striking.

With Baltimore's Bowie Baysox: a 4.79 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9. With Boston's Portland Sea Dogs: a 0.96 ERA, 9.4 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9.

Granted, Rodriguez' time with the Sea Dogs was only 37 innings, not even half the time he spent with the Baysox. But a performance that ridiculous over any decent stretch of innings is going to turn some heads, as Rodriguez clearly has in Boston. All those early-season struggles are easy to write off as the result of the knee sprain when the product at the end of the year is so utterly dominant.

Rodriguez is not quite the sure thing that Henry Owens is given that Owens' changeup will carry him to a major league career barring sudden loss of arm. But with his greater velocity and improving repertoire, the high ceiling for Rodriguez is less in debate. The good news for the Red Sox is that they don't have to choose between the two. They have both.

On to spot the fourth. Will we make it three left-handed pitchers in a row, or are we headed into the field for some position players?