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.