Q&A with NIU Commit Alex Rodriguez

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Recently 2017 SS Alex Rodriguez of Cudahy committed to North Illinois. Rodriguez is currently ranked No. 11 in the Wisconsin Class of 2017. He represented Wisconsin at the 2016 PBR Future Games in Indiana. Here is a report on him from the event.

Alex Rodriguez7/31/15 - 5-foot-8, 150-pound, right-handed hitting shortstop with an athletic frame and present strength. Solid runner in the 60 running a 6.90. At the plate hits from a wide stance with a deep load to backside, and leg lift trigger. Solid contact when timing is right. Showed strength thru contact with 87 mph exit velocity from a tee. Defensively has a low center of gravity with fluid footwork and soft hands. Quick transfer and release. Showed solid lateral agility in workouts and in games. Can play both middle infield positions. Threw 82 mph across the infield during workouts. Went 2-7 with a walk and a run scored in games.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Rodriguez: Having learned from upper classman, I knew what to expect but there was still plenty of work to do individually.  The first couple calls from colleges were difficult as I was nervous but as I continued to showcase more calls came in and I began to learn how to handle and reply and also to know what to work on to get more interest.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Rodriguez: First, my academic interest had to fit the college I was looking.  I was also looking for a competitive program and one that I fit in to.  My goals have always been to play for a Division 1 college but I wanted a mid-range college, one that wasn’t too large. 

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Rodriguez: Absolutely! This was a family decision as NIU is far enough from home yet close enough to get home on the weekends.  Also I wanted to make sure my family has the opportunity to come watch me play without having to do a lot of travel. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Rodriguez: The recruiting process started to get serious after I attended the PBR Future Games in Indianapolis the summer of my Sophomore year.  There was great exposure with so many colleges in attendance. 

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Rodriguez: NIU attended the Chicago Scouts Association Camp at Hitters Academy in early January.  We stayed in contact following the event and he saw me again at the Top Prospect Camp a few weeks later.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Rodriguez: Key factors are academics, location and coaches.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Rodriguez: Wright State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Rodriguez: Ty Ramirez, Jr.  I went against Ty during my HS season.  He was probably the fastest velocity I have seen.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Rodriguez: During my Sophomore year in high school I realized I could play at the college level.  I became more focused on baseball and academics knowing I wanted to play at the next level.  I did my first prospect camp and showcase understanding more on what colleges were looking for.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Rodriguez: Focus on grades first.  As you begin your recruiting process, that is all you will be asked by coaches…”how are your grades?” A good student shows discipline both on and off the field.  Also, eat well, stay hydrated and work with a good baseball program.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Rodriguez: The PBR Future Games as a Sophomore, being able to showcase in front of many colleges from across the country was a really cool experience. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Rodriguez: I have chosen to not play HS ball this season due to Cudahy playing a summer season, but instead to travel with my summer team to get more exposure playing at colleges around the country.  I expect to play some very competitive ball and gaining many wins!

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Rodriguez: I will be playing with Hitters summer league.  I look forward to the travels, friendships and college level fields we will be playing on.

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