White Sox starter sidelined with biceps injury, could start season on disabled list. How will South Siders respond in his absence?
With reports coming out that Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon is likely to start the season on the disabled list, could the Sox rotation be among the worst in baseball until he comes back? Outside of Jose Quintana, none of the other four arms are anything more than back-end material at this stage of their careers, therefore will the team pile up a significant amount of losses early?
Considering Rodon has tightness in his bicep, it is highly doubtful that Rick Hahn has any interest in rushing him back to the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field. What does this mean for rest of the club? Well, since Hahn is unlikely to take any chances with his 2014 number three overall pick, will the Sox need to score an inordinate amount of runs at the beginning of the season?
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Let’s look at Quintana for a moment. He is likely to be the lone rock of the rotation for a bit, as it is unlikely he will allow many runs. Quintana has never posted an ERA above 3.76 (2012), not to mention his lowest WHIP checked in at 1.16 (2016).
He will keep the ball in the park (85 HR’s allowed in 951 career IP), and most importantly, will throw strikes (244 career BB’s). If he can continue this production, the Sox will have one very good pitcher in their rotation, however unfortunately none other.
Now, who comes after Quintana? Well, as of right now it is Miguel Gonzalez, Derek Holland, and James Shields. Given there is the need for the fifth starter, who has yet to be decided. The other three are far from front-line starters, even though Shields may have been a few years back.
While Gonzalez produced a solid 3.73 ERA last season, Shields was a bust despite the hype. That is quite evident by his 4-12 record after coming over from San Diego, not to mention at an ERA scraping seven (6.77). Holland hasn’t pitched a full season since 2013, so don’t bank on him becoming a Cy Young award winner in 2017.
So that makes four starters, who fills the number five slot until Rodon takes the mound? Dylan Covey makes the most sense as of right now, who the Sox picked up in the Rule Five draft this past winter, mostly due to the fact the club would lose him if he does not remain on the MLB roster for all of 2017.
That is a bit unnerving to say the least, as Covey has never pitched at the big league level. What is worse, is that he has a losing record in his four year minor league career (18-25). In the case that Covey does pitch for the big club this season, it will be a big jump, mostly due to the fact he has never even appeared in a Triple-A game. Therefore, Covey would have a huge learning curve facing MLB hitters, meaning he could give up runs, and a lot of them.
Overall, this staff could be in major trouble if Rodon misses an extended period of time. With only one good starter, the Sox could be in worse shape than they were in 2014, which is a scary proposition. Even though Gonzalez is still a decent pitcher, he is nowhere near the level of a number two starter, so don’t back on a whole lot of wins when Rodon is out of the rotation.
More key injuries are bound to occur, Sox fans. And they will do major damage to a tremendously thin team.