The 2017 White Sox season officially began on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers formally reported to training camp. One of those pitchers is 24-year-old lefty, Carlos Rodon.
Rodon was selected with the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 draft out of North Carolina State. Less than a full calendar year later, Rodon was called up to make his major league debut on April 21, 2015 against the Cleveland Indians. The initial plan was to treat him the same way they had treated Chris Sale by having him start his major league career in the bullpen. Plans quickly changed when the Sox needed a spot start in the second game of a double header against the Reds on May 9, 2015. Rodon has remained in the MLB rotation ever since, but he has yet to sustain excellence on the mound. He finished out the 2015 season with a 9-6 record and a 3.75 ERA in 23 starts. In 2016, his first full major league season, his numbers regressed, as he finished with a 9-10 record and a 4.04 ERAin 28 starts.
Over the next season or two, the White Sox are going to see star pitchers such as Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech become sensational pieces of the rotation. Chicago also possesses other young pitching talent such as Carson Fulmer, Reynaldo Lopez, and Alec Hansen. With these guys beginning to make their marks on the MLB, Rodon needs to show that he can be the guy the White Sox imagined him being when they took him with the third overall pick. At some points in this past season, Rodon flashed signs of brilliance, but his problem was maintaining that brilliance. Heading into the season, Rodon is currently slotted into the 2nd starter role. However, he could become the ace at any point as trade rumors continue to swirl around Jose Quintana. Carlos Rodon needs to make sure that he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle during this key White Sox rebuild.
Photo: Colleen Kane, ChicagoTribune.com