White Sox: Carlos Rodon Appears Ready For Stardom

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 16: Carlos Rodon
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 16: Carlos Rodon /

White Sox 2014 first round draft pick starting to realize potential as top of rotation pitcher amidst a rebuilding season on the South Side.

The White Sox are in the middle of their worst baseball this season. Prior to winning four in a row during their previous homestand, they dropped six straight. Prior to winning Friday night’s contest against the Texas Rangers, they had lost five in a row. To put things in perspective, the Sox have only secured eight victories in the entire second half of the season (33 games).

The Sox have played a few tough teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and the Boston Red Sox, but it’s very clear that the organization is in full rebuild mood. There have been many missed opportunities, blown games, and growing pains, but one of the very few bright spots of this season has been the resurgence of starting pitcher Carlos Rodon.

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Rodon had has a roller coaster-type season that began with a very long stint on the disabled list. He only made one start this season prior to June 28 and that was in Spring Training. Rodon was frustrated, the coaching staff was concerned, and his time on the DL seemed like an eternity.

During the beginning of June, Rodon was finally scheduled to make his long-awaited return to the White Sox. He made four rehab starts – a few better than others – but the important thing was that he was ready to start his 2017 season with the struggling and rebuilding ChiSox. And he was more than ready. Rodon started with a bit of a hiccup but he has been near-lights out since the beginning of August and looks to be getting stronger with every start.

Rodon’s season numbers to date are not easy on baseball eyes but there’s plenty to be excited about not only for White Sox fans but for fans of the game too. Rodon has a 1-4 record on the year with a 4.00 ERA to go along with 59 strikeouts , 24 walks, and 24 hits in nine starts. Not eye-popping but there is a silver-lining.

Rodon has only allowed more than five earned runs twice and both were against the 87 -win Dodgers and the other against the 68-win Rockies. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of MLB  in runs. Rodon has also pitched at least five innings in all but two starts this year and in his nine season starts, he’s recorded at least nine strikeouts in four games and has only allowed more than four walks in one game.

The left-hander also has a FIP of 4.75 this year which puts him on par with pitchers like Ervin Santana, Lance Lynn, and Dylan Bundy. Not Kershaw, Sale, or Kluber but just a couple tiers below. Even more promising however have been his last four starts – which have been fantastic. Here are his last four outings:

  • July 30 vs. CLE – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 K, 2 BB – ND
  • Aug. 4 @ BOS – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 11 K, 0 BB – ND
  • Aug. 10 vs. HOU – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 K, 0 BB – ND
  • Aug. 16 @ BOS – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 K, 0 BB – ND

In his last four starts, Rodon’s pitched 30 innings pitched, 28 strikeouts, seven earned runs and six walks.

Rodon’s recent success is just what the doctor ordered for a young pitcher right on the cusp of doing something special for a team who are on the cusp of accomplishing the same. Rodon was eager to start off what could have been a major breakout season after the way he finished last season. In his last 11 starts of 2016, he went 7-2 with 70 strikeouts in 66.2 IP. He only failed to get to the fifth inning once in those last 11 starts.

Rodon was hoping to continue his great stretch from 2016 this year but with a difficult shoulder problem, he didn’t get started until late June but he’s definitely off to the races in 2017. Rodon has put up a few weak outings this year but his latest performances have been extremely encouraging.

Next: White Sox Promote Lucas Giolito

The Sox hope Rodon will use as much confidence as he can get because he’s been deterred by many injuries and poor outings for long stretches of his young and promising career. Rodon was slated to have a major role in this year’s starting rotation – possibly taking the ace role in the future – but it’s finally beginning to look like he’s ready to settle down and take it by force.