GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- One of the Reds' rising prospects, 21-year-old Yorman Rodriguez started in Friday's game vs. the Indians. Rodriguez led off and played center field.
The No. 16 prospect in the organization last year, according to MLB.com, Rodriguez split last season between Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola. Combined, he batted .259 with 13 home runs and 66 RBIs in 129 games. Reds manager Bryan Price thinks he will get even better by just playing and developing.
"He's such a young guy. He really had a significant, breakout year for him," Price said on Friday. "At 21, we're really encouraged by what we're beginning to see as far as his athleticism, the power potential. He's a very good defensive outfielder. We want to integrate him into center. I think he's more comfortable on the corners in right and left.
"But he's shown us a lot -- his instincts, his running and throwing ability, a much better approach at the plate, more disciplined. He's definitely one of the guys we're excited about as far as his development and his chance to help us in the next year or two."
As young as Rodriguez is, he has been in the organization for five seasons. He was signed on his 16th birthday for $2.5 million, which was a record for a Venezuelan amateur player at the time.
"You start at 16, think about that," Price said. "You're getting your driver's license here. All you're thinking about is getting up the nerve to make a phone call and ask a girl on a date and pray that your parents will let you use the car on Friday. This kid is out there trying to figure out if he can handle college pitching and things of that nature. He's certainly had his challenges."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.