Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez is one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game of baseball, He made his MLB debut at the young age of 19 in 1991. He played 21 years in the MLB and had a career batting average of .296. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 2017; he won the MVP in 1999, and also made the All-Star game 14 times, won 13 Gold Gloves, and seven Silver Slugger awards. He won the World Series with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and also holds the record for most career putouts and most games started by any MLB catcher ever. Pudge’s resume is about as impressive as a baseball resume can be. Pudge also threw out 46 percent of runners who tried to steal on him(another MLB record) in his career due to having an absolute land cannon for an arm.
However, the thing Pudge is most proud of is not listed above; it is raising his son Dereck Rodríguez who is currently a starting pitcher in the San Francisco Giants Rotation. Dereck’s first name is actually Iván after his father but he goes by his middle name Dereck to avoid confusion. That land cannon of an arm ended up being a hereditary trait that was passed down to the flamethrower Dereck Rodríguez. Dereck has four pitches but his 95 mph moving fastball is what he is known for.
Dereck currently has a 2.72 ERA, a 5-1 record, and 42 strikeouts as a starter with the Giants. Every time Dereck pitches you can find Pudge sitting in one of the first rows behind home plate passionately cheering his son on. It is fascinating that after watching his Dad have such an incredibly successful career as a catcher that Dereck decided to be a pitcher.
Dereck got drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2011 as an outfielder, however, he struggled mightily at the plate in Rookie-level ball. So in 2014 the Twins organization did him a big favor and changed Dereck’s primary position to pitcher. Dereck won pitcher of the year in 2015 with that same Rookie-level team for the Twins organization when he posted a 6-3 record, had a 2.85 ERA, and had 61 strikeouts. He struggled from the mound the following season in class-A advanced ball. So then Dereck decided to try to rebound playing ball in Puerto Rico and did a stellar job and was even named to the Puerto Rican national team for the World Baseball Classic much like his father was in 2006 and 2009.
Dereck had a short stint with the Chattanooga Lookouts following the World Baseball Classic where he pitched well. Before the 2018 season, Dereck was signed by the San Francisco Giants on a minor league deal to pitch for the AAA Sacramento River Cats. Due to Jeff Samardzija going down with a shoulder injury, Dereck was called up to the big leagues on May 29 to pitch against the Colorado Rockies. Although he did not get the win in his first outing he only allowed one earned run, had four strikeouts and got a no-decision. Since then Dereck has been a big-time asset to the San Francisco Giants. Dereck’s most recent outing was against the Oakland Athletics on July 20th where he only gave up three hits, had one earned run, and got the win with five strikeouts. Dereck has a long way to go to even be in the same conversation as his father as far as baseball accolades go but one thing is for sure, Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez is a tremendously proud father.