Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals: Steve McCatty's 3-Word Scouting Report on Henry Rodriguez

Henry Rodriguez's fastball has been clocked at 103.2 mph. How did the radar gun catch it?
Henry Rodriguez's fastball has been clocked at 103.2 mph. How did the radar gun catch it?Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Ian CasselberryMLB Lead WriterMarch 30, 2012

Washington Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez has been tabbed by manager Davey Johnson as one of two pitchers to fill in for closer Drew Storen while he recovers from elbow inflammation.

Rodriguez certainly has the firepower to be a dominating closer. His fastball has been clocked at more than 100 mph (one pitch was clocked at 103.2 mph in 2010), and he's averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings in his three major league seasons.

Controlling that fastball has been a problem, though.

Like many rocket-armed pitchers, Rodriguez doesn't always know where those missiles are going. His walks per nine innings averages out to more than five. 

But something has clicked for Rodriguez this spring. He hasn't allowed a run in nine innings, striking out seven and giving up just three hits.

Not only is Rodriguez locating that fastball, but he's also baffled hitters with a changeup and a curveball that the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore writes "drops like an anvil dipped in lead."

That combination led Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty to come up with a simple description for Rodriguez's performance. 

“He’s done everything that you would hope that he would do,” McCatty told Kilgore. “With his ability, if he does that, obviously his stuff is pretty frickin’ bueno.”

Pretty frickin' bueno, indeed.

As Kilgore later said on Twitter, someone has to make T-shirts with that phrase, right now.

Get on this, Nats fans. Those three words might end up describing your team's 2012 season, as well. 

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