Carlos Rodón has been the best player on the Chicago White Sox this year.
If Yermín Mercedes is the best story in baseball, then Carlos Rodón is a close second. Rodón went from being non-tendered during the offseason to put up an All-Star-worthy season in 2021.
Rodón’s road to becoming a dominant starting pitcher was a long and winding journey. He was drafted third overall in 2015 with the hopes that he would develop into the future ace of the franchise. He showed flashes of potential but nagging injuries and surgeries seemingly derailed his career.
After the White Sox non-tendered him following the 2020 season they offered him a one-year $3 million dollar prove-it contract. Besides the money, nothing else was guaranteed for Rodón. He had to earn a spot in the rotation in spring training, which he did by outpitching Reynaldo Lopez.
Once the regular season commenced Rodón seemingly flipped the switch. The White Sox are undefeated every time Rodón has taken the hill. He is 5-0 with a 0.58 ERA. The left-hander threw five scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners to open the season.
He then put his name on the national radar when he tossed a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. He was only two outs away from a perfect game. Rodón also strung together two consecutive quality starts against the Tigers and Royals giving up just a single earned run in 12 innings.
Rodón became the second pitcher in American League history to win, striking out seven or more hitters, and allow five hits or fewer in each of his first five starts of a season. The only other pitcher to accomplish this feat was Pedro Martinez in 2000. Martinez would go onto win the Cy Young award that season.
Rodón’s numbers hold up against the game’s best pitchers. Hits have been hard to come by for opposing hitters. Opponents are a measly 8-89 against him this season. The .114 opponent batting average against Rodón ranks first in the MLB.
Opponents are also slugging .162 off of him which is also good enough for first in the MLB. He also ranks first in opponent OPS (.367), hits per nine innings pitched (3.48), and is tied for first in fewest extra-base hits allowed, with just 3 surrendered. If that is not enough, he ranks third in WHIP (0.68). Rodón has a legitimate case to be the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star game as well as making a convincing Cy Young case.