You rarely see a guy outrighted, clear waivers, and return to their team with a breakout performance. However, that storyline is centered around our 17th-rated prospect, Alberto Rodriguez.
The Mariners snagged Rodriguez from the Toronto Blue Jays for Taijuan Walker in 2020. This is the second time Jerry Dipoto traded Walker, as he was a part of the Mitch Haniger trade in 2016. As for Rodriguez, he doesn't have any standout tools, but he is average to above average at just about everything. Scouting grades per MLB Pipeline grade the 23-year-old outfielder at 45 across the board (Hit, Power, Run, Glove, Arm). But if you look at his 2023 season, the hit tool shined across two levels of the Mariners' farm system.
Rodriguez was one of the Mariners' top offensive prospects this season, slashing .300/.380/.884, leading the system in doubles (38) and flashing gap-to-gap power. He also has a ton of swing-and-miss in his game (120 SO) and isn't very selective (51 BB), which doesn't necessarily align with the organizational philosophy of dominating the zone.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ifs attached to Rodriguez realizing his potential. Can the outfield routes continue to improve? Can he continue to show more contact and curb the strikeouts? If so, he could be headed to the big leagues in 2025 serving as a fourth outfielder and bench bat. However, he's already overcome some hefty odds this season.
For now, look for Rodriguez to return to Double A (Arkansas) and quickly move to Triple A (Tacoma) by mid-season.