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Is Carlos Rodon on his way to being the next White Sox ace?

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Apr 13, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Carlos Rodon has been an innings eater behind Chris Sale and Jose Quintana this season. Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Carlos Rodon has been an innings eater behind Chris Sale and Jose Quintana this season. Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Carlos Rodon has looked sharp in his first two starts, considering the fact that he got squeezed a bit by the home plate ump in Minneapolis. Not to mention the fact that he was arguably the top prospect in the draft in 2014, is it possible that the White Sox have another ace on their hands?

I want to be careful about hyping up Rodon too much. But if he is anywhere near the plate with his fastball, he is going to be a handful to hit. That is not due to the fact that he has the greatest fastball command, but perhaps one of the best sliders in all of baseball. Both the Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins had very little chance against his slider, and Rodon is burying it down-and-in to the right-handed hitters very well. Given that Oakland and Minnesota are not the best hitting teams in the league, Rodon is going to face better competition in the future.

Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

The whole key to Rodon’s success in the majors is going to be his fastball. Even though his slider is his out pitch, he will need to throw more than one pitch in order to be successful at the big league level. Assuming Rodon has command of his fastball in a given start, he will be very hard to make contact against. If Rodon is able to get the count in his favor, it sets up the slider as a wipeout pitch, which will lead to a lot of strikeouts.

While I will be cautious about comparing Rodon to Chris Sale just yet, he does have the potential to be a front-line starter. I remember some of the comparisons for Rodon as an amateur were David Price, however he has a way to go before he reaches that level. I think he needs to learn how to put hitters away quickly, as Rodon seems to have a problem throwing too many pitches to each hitter. If Rodon ever figures out how to throw fewer pitches per inning, he might become an ace. As of right now, he is a solid number two starter.

All in all, even though Rodon has an extremely high ceiling it might be too soon to expect ace-like performance start-to-start. Going into the season, I had a feeling that Rodon would be very good but would have some minor hiccups in his performance. I don’t think that Rodon is going to be Chris Sale-like in 2016, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he is better than Jose Quintana. Rodon is the second best starter on the Sox as of right now, and in the future he and Sale will provide an elite 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. With the Sox off to a good start, it should be interesting to see how Rodon performs over the course of 2016. Even though it is very early, this season looks promising unlike the past three. Remember Sox fans, pitching wins close games. So far the Sox have shown to have that.

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