White Sox Season Review: Grading the Starting Pitching
Carlos Rodon (C+)
While Rodon was a breakout candidate heading into the 2016 season, he failed to live up to the billing. Rodon’s ERA actually fell in 2016, as it was 4.04 compared to 3.75 in 2015. However, his walk total dropped, which is critical considering the fact he walked 17 fewer batters this past season (54 instead of 71) while pitching 165 innings. That is key when he only threw 139.1 IP in 2015.
Another area that Rodon worsened in this season was the win/loss column. In his rookie season, he went 9-6 however this season Rodon finished below .500 at 9-10. Strikeouts went north in 2016, increasing from 139 in 2015 to 168 in this season. One issue was the fact he allowed 23 home runs this past year, compared to 11 in 2015.
Rodon’s fastball velocity increased later in the season. His maximum fastball velocity was 99 MPH in August and September, and both months had the highest fastball velocity of any month (Rodon hit 99 MPH in June). To top it off, August and September had the highest fastball velocity average. Rodon was 7-2 in those two months. Coincidence, maybe?
If Rodon wants to become an elite pitcher, he needs to work on his fastball. If he can make this a plus pitch, and I am not just talking about velocity he can be an All-Star. Until then, he will have a hard time being more than a solid third starter in the major leagues.