“With the 3rd pick, in the 2014 MLB Draft, the Chicago White Sox select, Carlos Rodon, a pitcher, from North Carolina State University.”
Your favorite team just drafted him, so you might be wondering, “Who is Carlos Rodon?”
Rodon is a 21-year-old left-hander, who stands at 6-4, 235 pounds. Rodon broke an NC State record with 436 career strikeouts. He didn’t do this with blistering speed; his fastballs usually lie in the low to mid 90’s, but he has a devastating slider. According to ESPN draft guru Keith Law, Rodon has the best breaking ball of any pitcher in this draft. This slider, which is usually thrown at about 84mph, is difficult for hitters of both sides to handle because of its movement.
Experts predict Rodon to use this pitch and cruise through the minor leagues. They believe he will start the 2016 season in the majors.
Rodon had a career 2.24 ERA at NC State, and in this past season, went 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA in 14 starts and just about 100 innings. Don’t fret about his mediocre record; his offense struggled with scoring runs.
So, I am not concerned about his lackluster record in college, but “What questions do I have about him?”
I am a little concerned with how much he uses his slider. It’s common knowledge that a slider puts added stress on an arm, and in an age where Tommy John surgeries are prevalent, that heightens my awareness even more. I would hate to see a pitcher with so much upside, be forced to undergo a surgery like that, and try to rebuild his arm strength again. It would be devastating to all parties involved.
In dealing with critics like me, Rodon told the Raleigh News & Observer: “They don’t know the inside of my arm. They don’t understand the way I throw. Maybe they do understand the mechanical situation, but they don’t understand how my arm works.” He clearly seems confident in his ability and pitch selection.
My other question simply deals with the pitching rotation. If Rodon ascends quickly, which is expected, there could be an overload of left-handed pitchers in the rotation. Rodon will join fellow southpaws Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and John Danks. Sale has an option with the team through 2019, Quintana’s option lasts until 2020, and Danks is signed through 2016. That leaves four potential left-handed starters, out of five. Due to this, a move will likely have to be made.
However, that is a good problem. If the White Sox have four quality left-handed starters that they are happy with, the team will likely be contenders.
Rodon struggled with run support in college, but that will be a welcome change when he joins the White Sox; the White Sox are sixth in the MLB in runs scored this season. Rodon, who labeled the team as a “playoff contender,” is clearly excited about being supported by this offense.
He should be excited, and so should you! It’s not everyday your team drafts such a highly regarded, potential ace.