White Sox pitcher having inconsistent sophomore season, plenty of room for young hurler to improve. Inconsistency mostly due to failed catching tandem employed by general manager Rick Hahn
The White Sox entered the season with a legitimate pitching rotation featuring Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon. Despite the uncertainty with the rest of the rotation in Mat Latos and John Danks, the White Sox top three starters still had the chance to become a solid rotation in the American League.
However, Rodon’s second MLB season hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations from some White Sox fans for the third overall pick in the 2014 draft. Rodon hasn’t pitched as well as he did in his rookie season for the White Sox. In his first full major league season, Rodon is 2-8 with a 4.67 ERA. Last season, Rodon finished strong after a shaky start to his career and was 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA through 23 starts.
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Rodon has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter in the future, but at the moment he’s pitching much worse than Miguel Gonzalez. The White Sox aren’t contending, but they will still need consistency from the young left-handed pitcher. Rodon’s stats this season haven’t matched up to his impressive rookie season.
In 2015, Rodon’s FIP was 3.87, this season its 4.51. Rodon is also giving up more hits per nine innings pitched this season. In 2015, Rodon’s H/9 was 8.4, this season its 10.7. Last season, Rodon’s WHIP was 1.443. This season however, his WHIP is 1.536 through 17 starts.
The White Sox certainly need Rodon to improve on his numbers, but the front office is partially responsible for this current situation. The decision to non-tender Tyler Flowers after the end of the 2015 season has plagued the White Sox pitching staff this season. The White Sox instead chose to sign Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro to one-year contracts.
This decision has hurt Rodon’s development in his second season. In 2015, Rodon pitched 99 innings with Flowers behind the plate. In those 99 innings, Rodon’s ERA was 2.73 and he recorded 98 strikeouts. Opponents had a .234 batting average against Rodon with Flowers as his catcher. When Rodon pitched to Geovany Soto last season, his ERA was much higher at 9.12 through 25.2 innings.
This season, the biggest culprit to Rodon’s decline has been Navarro. Through 32.1 innings pitched to Navarro, Rodon’s ERA is 6.96 in comparison to a 3.17 ERA with Avila as the catcher. Opposing batters are hitting .314 against Rodon with Navarro behind the plate this season. In Rodon’s last two starts he’s given up 12 hits to the Yankees on July 5, and eight hits to the Twins on July 31.
Rodon can’t do anything to get Avila healthy again as the catcher is still recovering from a hamstring injury, but the young starter badly needs a solid receiver behind the plate to restore his confidence. In the meantime, Rodon will have to limit hits from the opposition but he will also need better efforts behind the plate from Navarro.