CLEARWATER, Fla. — After Julio Rodriguez represented the Phillies in baseball's annual Futures Game last July, he was demoted to the bullpen at double-A Reading. His prospect status was shaky, and on Sunday, his time with the Phillies ended.
Rodriguez was shipped to Baltimore in a swap of minor-league players. The Phillies received Ronnie Welty, a 25-year-old outfielder who has never played above double A.
In 2011, Rodriguez was a part of a stellar single-A Clearwater rotation. He struck out 168 hitters in 156 2/3 innings without an overpowering repertoire. He allowed a mere 102 hits that season. But scouts were never enamored of Rodriguez. He pitched to a 4.23 ERA at Reading last season while his command worsened.
That Clearwater rotation, unfairly dubbed the "Baby Aces," is nothing but a memory. The Phillies have traded three pitchers — Rodriguez, Trevor May and Jarred Cosart — from that staff. Brody Colvin, once a top prospect, has yet to take the next step. Jonathan Pettibone remains in the organization and could anchor the rotation at triple A.
Welty played in only 56 games last season across four levels. He hit 13 home runs in 213 at-bats, including eight at double-A Bowie. He has primarily played right field.
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