Are you sensing a theme? The American League has a very talented crop of left-handed pitching prospects primed to make an impact at the big league level this season, including Carlos Rodon, who won’t start the season in Chicago, but should make his debut early in the year.
The third overall pick in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Rodon has only pitched in nine games as a professional across three levels. In stops in the Rookie Arizona League, Single-A Winston Salem and Triple-A Charlotte, the 6-foot-3, 234-pound 22-year old struck out 38 of the 108 (35.2%) hitters he faced for a staggering 14.1 K/9 ratio.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura would like to see Rodon develop his change-up more before he’s called up to the big leagues, but Rodon’s fastball-slider combination has been electric this spring. In 12.1 innings combined in five games and four starts, Rodon has struck out 19 of the 54 (35.2%) hitters he’s faced, including nine Kansas City Royals in four innings in his last start. Overall, Rodon is 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA having allowed five earned runs on 13 hits, three walks and has hit two batters this spring.
With this spring’s performance, Rodon has proved he’s ready for The Show. If he improves his change-up, Rodon will find himself in the White Sox starting rotation in April or May and then for years to come – although his mid-90s fastball and high-80s slider are all he needs to be a lights out reliever.
Next: Francisco Lindor