When your club is five games under .500 at this point in the MLB season, it’s the little things that should get White Sox fans excited. And nothing should do that more than following the progression of first-round selection Carlos Rodon. The lefty recently had his first side session in front of Minor League Pitching Coordinator Kirk Champion and the Granite City native told MLB.com he likes his new southpaw:
"Just an impressive kid, makeup-wise and strong, arm strength, all the things that everybody has seen the last couple of years. He's just trying to learn, listen. He's very respectful and respects the game. A lot of attention goes with where he was taken, but the first impression is good."
Rodon was widely considered the #1 pick heading into his junior season at North Carolina State until control issues caused him to fall in the draft. Many project his big, stocky frame to continue to eat innings at the major league level and some even saw the big workload he carried in college (130+ innings) as a negative. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s, but hitters will shake their heads at his put-away slider.
Next up for Rodon will be a road trip to the Arizona Rookie League. If all goes according to plan, he’ll start a game there next week. When that puts him at US Cellular Field will depend upon his progression and how fast he moves through each level. Chris Sale certainly moved rapidly, but don’t assume the former ACC Pitcher of the Year will be on the same track. Late 2015 appears to be a fair guess.