Nearly Rational Exuberance Concerning Carlos Rodon

NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon was selected third overall by the White Sox during the most recent major-league draft on the strength of a fastball/slider combination about which obscene poems have been written — which poems, shortly after having been written, were also then ripped up and thrown into the fire by the confused and perspiring scouts who wrote them.

More quickly than even those totally enamored scouts could have reasonably predicted, Rodon has parlayed his ecstatic repertoire into an excellent, if brief, minor-league career. After striking out 15 of the 42 batters (35.7%) he faced over four appearances with High-A Winston-Salem, Rodon earned rather an aggressive promotion to Triple-A Charlotte. There, he’s produced roughly the same rates, having now recorded 11 strikeouts against just 28 batters (39.3%) over two starts and 7.0 innings — including a four-inning, eight-strikeout performance on Sunday (box).

Command has been an issue: over those same seven innings at Triple-A, Rodon has recorded five walks — that is, against roughly 18% of the batters he’s faced. Even so, his capacity to miss bats in the highest of the minor leagues has created the very real possibility that he might appear in the majors at some point in September.

Regard:

“No set plan” indicates the Sox are willing to entertain the idea of promoting Rodon to the majors — which, that’s a remarkable thing in itself. Consider, for example, this table, which features every player from the past five years to make his major-league debut in the same year he was drafted:

Player Team Year GS IP xFIP- WAR
Paco Rodriguez Dodgers 2012   6.2 96 0.1
Chris Sale White Sox 2010   23.1 61 0.6

That’s a list of only two players — and, notably, both Rodriguez and Sale were deployed as left-handed relievers on clubs which, if not necessarily in the thick of contention, at least managed second-place finishes in their respective divisions. The present iteration of the White Sox, meanwhile, aren’t even in the thin of contention. And the prospect of Rodon actually starting major-league games months removed from his last college appearance is an unusual, compelling one.

In conclusion — and for no other reason than because it’s beautiful — here’s footage of Rodon’s slider from his most recent start with Charlotte:

Rodon 2 SL

And that same pitch in slow motion:

Rodon 2 SL Slow




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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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4 Comments on "Nearly Rational Exuberance Concerning Carlos Rodon"


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Jorge Fabregas
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Jorge Fabregas
1 year 11 months ago

Organizational mouthpieces (broadcasters, etc.) have said that he’s coming up in September. The apparent inevitability makes it seem like they had a handshake agreement with Boras.

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 11 months ago

Draft-to-the-majors in the same year was starting to become pretty common about 10 years ago. Happened 6 times in 2003-2005.

Andrew Miller, Craig Hansen, Joey Devine, and Ryan Wagner are the cautionary tales.

Double J
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Double J
1 year 11 months ago

Mike Leake is on an even shorter list. Draft-to-Majors with no time in the minors.
It wasn’t in the year he was drafted but still impressive.
Here is that list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_went_directly_to_the_major_leagues

Jeremy
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Jeremy
1 year 11 months ago

The signing deadline being pushed up from August 15 to July 15 is in play here for why so few the last five years

Also back in 2003-2005 players could sign major league deals which expedited their call ups

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