Carlos Rodón

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Carlos Antonio Rodón

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Carlos Rodón was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft. However, he did not sign, opting to attend North Carolina State University instead. Three years later, his name was in the discussion as a potential first overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft, but the Houston Astros opted for high schooler Brady Aiken instead; he fell to third overall, where he was selected by the Chicago White Sox and scout Abe Fernandez. That made him the first college player taken in that year's draft. He signed a contract with the Sox on July 9th, accepting a bonus of $6.5 million. He was to be assigned to the Winston-Salem Dash of the Class A Carolina League, although it was well understood that he was on a fast track to the major leagues, as had been the case with Chris Sale a few years earlier. He made his professional debut with the AZL White Sox on July 22nd, with the understanding that he would head to Winston-Salem after one or two more appearances. That was indeed the case, and the stay in the Carolina League was short-lived too, 4 appearances including 2 starts, and 9 2/3 innings with no decisions and a 1.86 ERA. In mid-August, he received his next promotion, this time to the AAA Charlotte Knights. He then made 3 starts for Charlotte, with no record and an ERA of 3.00 to end his first professional year at 0-0, 2.96 in 24 1/3 innings.

There was speculation that Rodon could start the 2015 season in the majors, but he was assigned back to Charlotte when spring training ended. However, he only made two starts, going 1-0, 3.60 ion 10 innings, before getting the call to Chicago on April 20th. The White Sox made a couple of moves that date, placing Javy Guerra on the disabled list and designating Kyle Drabek for assignment, while calling up Hector and activating Jake Petricka from the DL. He was expected to pitch out of the bullpen at first, although his longer term future was as a starting pitcher. He made his debut the next day, entering a game against the Cleveland Indians with two outs in the 6th inning in relief of starter Hector Noesi. He had some trouble with his command on a chilly night, however, as he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in 2 1/3 innings and the White Sox lost, 6-2. He earned his first win in his first start, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on May 9th; he struck out 8 batters in 6 innings to earn the 8-2 victory. He went 9-6, 3.75 in 26 games, including 23 starts, in his first season.

On September 30, 2016, he completed his first full season by tying an American League record when he struck the first seven Minnesota Twins batters he faced in the game. He was credited with his team's 7-3 win to finish the year at 9-10, 4.04. The record had been set by another White Sox pitcher, Joe Cowley, on May 28, 1986. Since he had also struck out the last three batters he had faced in his previous game, it gave him 10 consecutive K's, making him the first pitcher to do so since Eric Gagné in 2003. His record was a bit of a disappointment, but he did take some positive steps, such as starting 28 games and increasing his innings pitched to 165 (he had gone 139 1/3 as a rookie). He maintained his excellent strikeout rate, with 166 after notching 139 as a rookie. However, his 2017 season started three months late because of shoulder and biceps problems. He then made only 12 starts, going 2-5, 4.15. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in late September and was expected to miss the beginning of the following season as well.

He made 20 starts in 2018, going 6-9, 4.18 and logging 120 2/3 innings, his first appearance coming on June 9th. However, he hit another setback early in the 2019 season, when he returned to the injured list on May 2nd. He had made 7 starts and was 3-2, 5.19, but the news was bad as on May 13th the White Sox announced that he was out for the remainder of the season as he needed to undergo Tommy John surgery. He then made only 4 appearances in 2020, going 0-2, 8.22 in 7 2/3 innings as the White Sox reached the postseason. To illustrate how far he had fallen in the team's plans, he was non-tendered after the season, and then re-signed on a one year contract as no other team expressed an interest. So most fans probably did not realize he was back in the team's starting rotation in 2021 - until he pitched a no-hitter on April 14th. He defeated the Cleveland Indians, 8-0. He had a perfect game coming into the 9th inning, then came one out closer when Josh Naylor hit a grounder to 1B Jose Abreu, who beat him to the bag by a whisker, both players sliding in almost simultaneously. He then lost the perfecto when he hit Roberto Pérez with a pitch, before retiring the next two batters. He struck out 7 batters during the game. His teammate Lucas Giolito had tossed the team's last no-hitter the previous August. He went 4-0, 0.72 in his four April starts and continued to pitch well after that even if wins weren't as plentiful, finishing the first half at 7-3, 2.31 in 15 starts. As a result, he was named to the All-Star team for the first time although he did not appear in the game itself. For the season, he went 13-5, 2.37 in 24 starts, with an outstanding 185 Ks in 132 2/3 innings. He missed most of August with an injury and the White deliberately spaced out his starts after his return on August 26th, usually giving him over a week between starts, and they did not over-exert him either, as he never pitched more than 5 innings in any game after he came back. The objective was to have him ready for the postseason, and he did start Game 4 of the Division Series against the Houston Astros on October 12th. However, he was pulled after just 2 2/3 innings after giving up 2 runs on 3 hits as the Pale Hose went on to lose the game, 11-1.

Rodón became a free agent after the 2021 season and was still unsigned when the lockout was decreed on December 1st. That put a freeze on transactions, but on March 10th, one day after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified, it was announced that he had come to an agreement with the San Francisco Giants on a two-year deal worth $44 million. He got off to a great start with the Giants, going 3-0, 1.17 with a major league-leading 38 strikeouts in 23 innings in his first four starts. This also broke the franchise record, previously held by Tim Lincecum, for most K's by a pitcher in his first four games of the season. He had also not allowed more than 1 run or 3 hits in any of the four starts. He was named an All-Star for the second straight year as he finished the season at 14-8, 2.88 in 31 games, allowing just 131 hits but striking out 237 batters in 178 innings. He led the National League in strikeouts per 9 innings with 11.98 and was also in the top ten in the league in ERA, WHIP, fewest hits per 9 innings and K/W ratio. He finished 6th in the voting for the Cy Young Award. Following the season he opted out of the second year of his contract to become a free agent again, and now in a much more favorable market, was the subject of a bidding war. On December 15th, he signed a six-year deal with the New York Yankees for $162 million.

His sojourn with the Yankees started on a bad note as he had to begin the 2023 season on the injured list with a left forearm strain. He finally made his debut just before the All-Star break, starting a game against the Chicago Cubs at home on July 7th. He did well, allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings, but the Yankees were limited to one hit over the first eight innings by his opponent on the mound, Jameson Taillon, and lost the game, 3-0. Incidentally, it was the first time ever that the Cubs had defeated the Yankees at Yankee Stadium or New Yankee Stadium. He earned his first win in pinstripes, after being the losing pitcher in his first three starts, on July 26th, when he pitched six innings of one-run ball against the New York Mets, earning a 3-1 victory. He lost his next start, however, and on August 6th left the game early with hamstring tightness in the 3rd inning of a 9-7 loss to the Houston Astros. In spite of the no-decision, he was 1-4, 7.33 after 6 starts, with 18 walks in 27 innings.

Rodon was born in a Cuban family that had left the island for Miami, FL in 1967. The family then moved to North Carolina when Carlos was 8 years old.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "The pitcher following deGrom's blueprint",, July 17, 2021. [1]
  • David Adler: "The lowdown on FA starter Carlos Rodón",, November 10, 2021. [2]
  • Steve Gardner and Gabe Lacques (USA Today): "Carlos Rodon agrees to 6-year, $162 million free agent deal with New York Yankees", Yahoo! News, December 15, 2022. [3]
  • Maria Guardado: "Giants, lefty Rodón have 2-year deal (source)",, March 11, 2022. [4]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Rodón, Yankees agree to six-year deal",, December 15, 2022. [5]
  • Bryan Hoch: "'Putting on these pinstripes is something special' for Rodón",, December 22, 2022. [6]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Pinstripes premiere: Rodón shows little rust in Yanks debut: New York's bats struggle to support left-hander during his first 2023 start",, July 7, 2023. [7]
  • Joe Lemire: "MLB draft: Lefty pitchers often in a rush to reach big leagues", USA Today Sports, June 8, 2015. [8]
  • Scott Merkin: "Rodon has sights set on Majors at SoxFest: Club's top prospect drafted No. 3 overall in June, shined across 9-game debut in Minor Leagues",, January 25, 2015. [9]
  • Scott Merkin: "Rodón throws no-no! 2 outs shy of perfecto",, April 15, 2021. [10]
  • Phil Rogers: "Rodon the key for resurgent White Sox",, February 16, 2016. [11]
  • Andrew Simon and Sarah Langs: "15 stats, facts from Rodón's riveting no-hitter",, April 15, 2021. [12]
  • Bret Strelow: "N.C. State's Carlos Rodon a prime catch near top of MLB draft", Fayetteville Observer, June 4, 2014. [13]

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