Examining White Sox ace Carlos Rodon’s breakout season

a baseball player throwing a ball: Carlos Rodon began his career as a solid but unspectacular starter. He didn't make the jump to the next level until the 2021, when he threw a no-hitter against Cleveland.Carlos Rodón was selected third overall in the 2014 draft and was an immediate top prospect upon entering pro ball. He flew to the big leagues, making his MLB debut 10 months after his draft date. Rodón was immediately a productive starter, pitching to a 3.75 ERA/4.20 SIERA across 139 1/3 innings as a 22-year-old. It would’ve been easy for the White Sox to envision him as another top-of-the-rotation arm in an organization that had already produced Chris Sale and José Quintana.

Rodón didn’t make the jump to that level over the next few seasons, however. He was fine from 2016-18, working to a 4.11 ERA/4.46 FIP, but it seemed he’d plateaued as a league-average arm. That’s useful but probably not what many fans had in mind. Then Rodón dealt with a series of injuries that called his future into question. He landed on the 60-day injured list each season from 2018-20, missing time with shoulder and elbow issues. When healthy enough to pitch over the last two seasons, he was unproductive, tossing 42 1/3 innings of 5.74 ERA ball.

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