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White Sox Fri Jun 06 2014
All the losses from last year's White Sox team paid off to some degree last night. With the third pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, the Sox selected Carlos Rodon, a lefty starting pitcher from North Carolina State.
Rodon very well could have been the first pick of last year's draft if he were eligible, so the Sox got a steal talent-wise this year. Instead of banking on high school pitchers like the Astros and Marlins did with the first two picks of the draft, the Sox got a guy who played three years of college ball and was excellent in his time there. Rodon finished with a 2.24 ERA and 436 strikeouts in his career at NC State.
What stands out most about Rodon is his slider, which can come in at 92 mph and is rated 70 (on a scale of 20 to 80) by a scouting report on MLB.com. His slider is extremely hard to hit. I mean, look at that thing. His fastball can reach 97 mph but usually stays in the lower 90s. His changeup is a work-in-progress, as is his command. Rodon won't be an overpowering pitcher, but he has good pitches and will be a great No. 2 option in the rotation behind Chris Sale.
With Scott Boras as his agent Rodon will command a premium signing bonus. This doesn't seem to be a big issue though, and Boras guys who are top picks typically sign.
One of the big upsides to Rodon is that he's closer to being ready for the big leagues than most of the other pitching prospects. Some Sox blogs have speculated that he can be in the starting rotation as early as next year, and that he could possibly be a good reliever option during the stretch run this season. That might be a long shot, but he will turn 22 in December, so it's not like he needs years of development.
Looking forward, Sale is under contract through at least 2017, Jose Quintana will be with the team through at least 2018 and the earliest Erik Johnson can become a free agent at the earliest in 2020 (John Danks is also signed through 2016). Though Johnson hasn't been great this year, a Sale-Rodon-Quintana-Johnson rotation can be pretty formidable a year or two from now, especially if the Sox add that fifth piece.
That fifth piece could be Spencer Adams, a righty pitcher out of high school that the Sox took 44th overall last night. That's an extreme stretch as of this moment -- high school pitchers chosen in the second round are no sure bets to even reach the big leagues - but Adams has a low 90s fastball, a good slider and a half-decent curveball and changeup. He'd be a valuable chip in the Sox organization if he signs (he has a commitment to Georgia).
While Adams is a question mark, Rodon is the surest thing in this draft, and the White Sox were fortunate to pick him up. He'll be a good one. It only took a 99-loss season to acquire him.