On Sunday, Carlos Rodon had his best start since returning from injury. His line was 8 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3K, 7 H on 99 pitches. He had to get out of a couple of jams but was great regardless. He had not pitched eight innings since August of last season during a great stretch of starts.
Rodon has looked sharp since his return a few weeks ago and there are a lot more positives to take away from his games than negatives. For him, his main goal should be to stay healthy. He is a great young pitcher with ace-quality stuff but cannot stay healthy for more than a few months at a time. As long as he stays healthy, he can pitch more and take more from those starts. Staying healthy is certainly a skill that MLB players can develop over time.
After missing more than two months to begin the season, if Rodon can make more than 20 starts or pitch more 125 innings, it would be a great step forward for his durability. He hasn’t started more than 20 games since 2016 and has only pitched more than 150 innings once in his career. The Sox don’t need him to be ready to pitch 175 innings just yet but nothing is better to build on than a solid foundation that he can begin from this season.
For the pitchers down on the farm, they need to be diligent and really keep working hard to get a spot in the rotation. Players like Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez have their spots on the major league roster just about saved for them, but the pitching rotation is continuously getting stacked.
There are arguably four pitchers already securing their spots on the rotation but there are so many more already waiting for their turns too. Throwing out an arm or a few terrible starts could mean losing out on a rotation spot. Michael Kopech, Spencer Adams and Jordan Stephens will very soon be next to make the most of their opportunities.