One of the Orioles' top young pitching prospects will start Saturday's Arizona Fall League championship game.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Surprise against either Mesa or Salt River in the game, which is set for 3 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised live on MLB Network. He is expected to go three innings.
Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in five AFL games and gave up three runs and seven hits in his most recent outing Friday. Over 14 2/3 innings in Arizona, the 20-year-old Rodriguez has allowed 15 hits along with nine runs with six walks and 16 strikeouts.
Rodriguez should be used to pitching in big games. He pitched in the Futures Game in July for the World Team, in the California/Carolina League All-Star Game and pitched a scoreless inning in the AFL's Fall Stars Game. All of this after he began the year as a spring training invitee by the Orioles to big league camp in Sarasota.
A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Rodriguez began this season at Single-A Frederick and went 6-4 with a 2.85 ERA. He was promoted to Double-A Bowie, where he went 4-3 with a 4.22 ERA over 11 starts. But it was his last four Bowie starts where Rodriguez pitched probably his best ball of the year, going 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA for the Baysox.
Baseball America ranked Rodriguez as the No. 8 prospect in the Carolina League and rated him No. 9 in the Eastern League. Not bad for a kid that won't turn 21 until April 7.
Now the Orioles will see what he can do on the big stage of the AFL championship game on Saturday.