Carlos Rodón was chosen third total within the 2014 draft and was a direct prime prospect upon coming into professional ball. He flew to the large leagues, making his MLB debut ten months after his draft date. Rodón was instantly a productive starter, pitching to a 3.75 ERA/4.20 SIERA throughout 139 1/3 innings as a 22-year-old. It will’ve been simple for the White Sox to check him as one other top-of-the-rotation arm in a corporation that had already produced Chris Sale and José Quintana.
Rodón didn’t make the soar to that degree over the subsequent few seasons although. He was wonderful from 2016-18, working to a 4.11 ERA/4.46 FIP, however it appeared he’d plateaued as a league common arm. That’s helpful however in all probability not what many followers had in thoughts. Then Rodón handled a collection of accidents that known as his future into query. He landed on the 60-day injured checklist every season from 2018-20, lacking time with shoulder and elbow points. When wholesome sufficient to pitch during the last two seasons, he was unproductive, tossing 42 1/3 innings of 5.74 ERA ball.
These struggles even led the White Sox to chop ties with Rodón briefly. Chicago non-tendered him final winter somewhat than supply him an arbitration wage that will’ve price a bit greater than $4MM. He spent portion of the offseason unsigned earlier than returning to the South Facet on a $3MM guarantee in late January. Even at such a low value level, the Rodón reunion appeared like a questionable resolution given his well being woes and up to date underperformance. Looking back, it has confirmed to be a masterstroke by normal supervisor Rick Hahn and the entrance workplace.
Rodón earned a spot within the beginning rotation to open the yr. He’s stayed wholesome thus far and been nothing in need of unbelievable. Rodón has labored to a minuscule 2.31 ERA throughout 89 2/3 innings. He has struck out a career-high 36.1% of batters confronted, a mark that trails solely Jacob deGrom, Corbin Burnes and Tyler Glasnow among the many 146 pitchers with 50+ innings pitched. Rodón’s additionally fourth amongst that group (behind deGrom, Burnes and Max Scherzer) in strikeout/stroll fee differential (28.9 share factors) and SIERA (2.82). The massive lefty earned a well-deserved journey to the All-Star Sport for the primary time in his profession in recognition of that sturdy work.
Unsurprisingly, Rodón’s that includes one of the best uncooked stuff of his profession. His fastball is averaging 95.9 MPH this season, a marked improve over his 92-94 MPH vary lately. Rodón truly first skilled a velocity spike throughout a few reduction appearances on the finish of final season, however it wasn’t clear whether or not he’d have the ability to preserve that with a starter’s workload. He has to this point, with no indication of slowing down.
He’s additionally added a bit extra life on the heater on the prime of the strike zone, and he’s throwing his slider with elevated velocity. Each choices have been plus, however it’s his fastball that has grow to be virtually unhittable. Rodón has generated a league-leading 147 whiffs on four-seamers this season, per Statcast. (His 17.1% swinging strike fee on the providing is tied for third among the many 68 pitchers who’ve thrown at the least 500 fastbals). In 2018 — his most up-to-date season of greater than seven begins — batters hit .257 and slugged .422 off Rodón in at-bats ending with a four-seamer. This yr, they’re hitting .180 and slugging .275 towards the pitch.
It’s solely been three months, however Rodón has carried out at an ace-caliber degree thus far. He famously threw a no-hitter towards the Indians in April, and he’s had a further seven begins wherein he’s allowed three or fewer hits. Rodón has struck out eight or extra batters in 13 of his fifteen appearances, and he’s proven no apparent ailing results from the league’s overseas substance crackdown. In all probability, 2021 will mark his heaviest workload in 5 years, so he’ll have to proceed to show he’s able to acting at a excessive degree as his innings complete piles up.
The White Sox are extremely prone to win the AL Central, and Rodón has put himself in what seems to be a really sturdy future playoff rotation additionally together with Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and certainly one of Dylan Cease or Dallas Keuchel. He’s in line to once more attain free company this winter, the place he’ll be one of many youngest and best beginning pitchers in the marketplace. There’s no query he’ll fare fairly a bit higher this time round.