Juan Francisco Rodríguez
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Juan Francisco Rodríguez Hernandez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
Juan Rodríguez played for 19 seasons in the Mexican League and 15 in the Mexican Pacific League. He was the first Mexican Leaguer to have two five-walk games and also had a six-hit game once. Not a power threat, he stole a fair number of bases, had a superb batting eye and played good defense at second base.
Rodríguez debuted in 1977 as a 16-year-old for the Cafeteros de Cordoba; he was 1 for 11. He spent two more years as a bench player with the club (9 for 29 with two walks in 1978, 15 for 70 with ten walks and two doubles in 1979). In 1980, he moved to the Broncos de Reynosa and became a starter, hitting .245/.295/.278. Turning 20 years old, he put up a .230/.304/.279 line in 1981. He made big strides in '82, hitting .299/.356/.335 and stealing 26 bases in 30 tries. He led Mexican League second basemen in putotus (340) and assists (410).
Juan spent the next five years with the Bravos de León. He hit .274/.343/.315 in 1983 and hit his first career home run. He struck out only 20 times in 460 at-bats while swiping 30 bases in 38 attempts. He led the LMB in both at-bats and fielding by a second baseman (.990). In '84, he was better yet at .316/.391/.403. The next season, the youngster batted .322/.393/.439 with 100 runs and 17 steals in 22 attempts. His tenth campaign continued a rise in some of his batting stats at .332/.408/.390; he stole 16 bases but was gunned down 14 times. He struck out only 19 times in 485 at-bats while drawing 62 walks. In his last season with the Bravos, he had his best batting line (.362/.454/.428), 101 runs, 72 walks and 15 strikeouts in 439 at-bats.
The Monterrey native spent 1988 (.301/.377/.356) and 1989 (.292/.377/.344) with the Leones de Yucatan; in '88, he led LMB second basemen in fielding (.992) and putouts (346). He joined his hometown Sultanes de Monterrey in 1990 and put up a .292/.351/.392 line while stealing at least 10 bases for the tenth straight year. He batted .325/.401/.403 for Monterrey in 1991 and .264/.363/.307 for the same club in '92.
Now on the tail end of his career, Chico played in 1993 for the Rieleros de Aguascalientes (.277/.362/.349) and spliut 1994 between Aguascalientes and the Industriales de Monterrey (.289/.403/.348). He finished up in 1995 as a bench player (52 games) for Reynosa and Aguascalientes (just .178/.287/.190).
Rodríguez hit .293/.374/.354 in 1,924 games in the minor leagues, with 1,130 runs, 841 walks and 196 steals in 279 tries. He only hit 34 home runs in 6,658 at-bats while striking out just 345 times. As of 2000, he was 11th in LMB history in runs scored, 18th i nsteals and 21st in walks. His 200 sacrifice hits were second-most behind Juan José Pacho (Chico had retired as the all-time leader).
Sources: The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, assorted Baseball Guides, Salon de la Fama