This season is the year that expectations are going to be raised for Carlos Rodon in the Chicago White Sox rotation. The young southpaw has spent the last couple of seasons watching fellow lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana deliver high quality outings every fifth day. Now, all eyes will be moving towards Rodon as a new era of White Sox baseball takes flight.
Carlos Rodon is set to make his 2017 Spring Training debut this Sunday after being delayed due to shoulder fatigue that he endured last season. This is welcomed news for the Chicago White Sox who are looking for people to occupy the innings that left with the trade of Chris Sale to the Red Sox. Rodon is ready to go as he explained to CBS Chicago:
"“I am really looking forward to it,” Rodon said. “It will be fun facing big league hitters again. When you are on the mound, you’re just grooving,” Rodon said of competitive pitching. “Nothing else is on your mind. We were just pitching today, getting the ball downhill.”"
The White Sox surely have to be excited to get their prized starter back on track as the season approaches. With the struggles of veteran James Shields last season, and the expected eventual departure of All-Star Jose Quintana, Rodon might be counted upon to be the ace of the staff when the dust settles.
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With the White Sox committed to building around a young nucleus in the offseason, Rodon will have time to develop his craft with elite pitching coach Don Cooper. Hopes are that Rodon will be the anchor for Chicago when the likes of Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer and Alec Hansen join him in time for the White Sox to compete. That of course is still several seasons away.
Rodon who made his debut at 22, after being the 3rd overall selection in the MLB Draft, came to the big leagues a year after bring drafted by Chicago. Since that time he has gained alot of experience facing big league hitters after having a stellar career at NC State. But with the high draft pick comes high expectations, especially with a top five selection.
While Rodon has shown flashes of brilliance such as finishing in the top ten in the league in strikeouts per nine innings last year, he has also demonstrated struggles such as finishing in the top ten in wild pitches. Expectations need to be measured however as Rodon is still light years ahead of the players taken ahead of him in the draft in Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, who to date have not made it to the big leagues.
Will this be the season where Rodon meets the expectations, and becomes the new lefty hitters fear when facing the Chicago White Sox? With his start against the Angels on Sunday, we will begin to find out.