Steven Francis Rodriguez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.
- School University of Florida
- High School Gulliver Preparatory School
- Debut September 9, 2012
- Final Game May 29, 2015
- Born April 16, 1991 in Miami Beach, FL USA
Pitcher Paco Rodriguez became the first player selected in the 2012 amateur draft to reach the majors when he made his big league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers that September. He pitched with the Dodgers from 2012 to 2015, but had injury problems that complicated his career. In spite of that, he managed to compile an ERA of 2.53 during his four major league seasons. As of 2019, he was in the minor league organization of the San Diego Padres.
After attending high school at Gulliver Preparatory School in Florida, Rodriguez was selected by the Houston Astros in the 48th round of the 2009 amateur draft but did not sign. Instead, he opted to attend the University of Florida. As a junior there, he went 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA, 79 strikeouts, and 4 saves. He was then selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2012 draft.
Rodriguez began his pro career with the Great Lakes Loons in 2012 and did not allow an earned run in 6 appearances with the club. He was then promoted to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts, for whom he was 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA and 3 saves in 15 outings. The Dodgers called him up to the majors in September, and he made his big league debut on September 9th against the San Francisco Giants. He faced only one batter, Brandon Belt, and retired him on a ground out. He made 11 appearances with the Dodgers that September, with a record of 0-1 and a 1.35 ERA. He then spent the entire 2013 season in Los Angeles, appearing in 76 games with a record of 3-4, 2.32. He was used as a LOOGY, as he pitched only 54 1/3 innings, during which he allowed a mere 30 hits and 19 walks and struck out 63. He pitched twice against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, but gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning, both runs scoring on a two-run homer by Jason Heyward that made little difference in a 13-6 win by the Dodgers in Game 3. His success that season convinced veteran Mark Mulder, who had been retired for a number of seasons but had watched him on television, to try to imitate his unique pitching style to see how it would work for him; it worked so well that he made a formal attempt at a comeback, which ended when he tore an Achilles tendon.
Health issues limited Paco to 19 major league games in 2014, as he missed almost all of May, June and the beginning of July, made a couple of appearances in mid-July, one in early August, and did not come back until September. When he did pitch, he was 1-0, 3.86, but he did not play in the postseason. More injury woes followed in 2015 as he went on the disabled list at the end of May with an elbow strain. He had no record and a 2.61 ERA at that point, but had only pitched 10 1/3 innings in 18 games. He was still on the DL when on July 30th, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with Héctor Olivera Jr. and prospect Zachary Bird in return for Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza and Alex Wood, as the Dodgers needed to add some healthy pitchers with major league experience. He never pitched for the Braves, either at the major league or minor league levels.
He missed all of 2016 due to injury and was released by the Braves after the season. He then signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 2017, but made only 9 appearances, all with the GCL Orioles, allowing 12 runs and 17 hits in 12 innings. He had to join the independent Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League to get his next opportunity in 2018, then managed to get the Minnesota Twins to give him a look. He pitched for two of the Twins' affiliates in 2018, going 3-1, 3.48 in 22 games, in addition to his 3 outings with Sugar Land. Continuing his comeback attempt, he signed with the San Diego Padres for 2019.