CHICAGO – There was no outcry from an agent. No advertising campaign that took to billboards outside of the ballpark and all over social media.
His arrival to Chicago wasn’t met like the coming of the next savior of the franchise. The difference was like night and day, or, north and south if you want to look at it from a Chicago perspective.
With much less fanfare than prospect Kris Bryant came to the Cubs, Carlos Rodon arrived at US Cellular Field Monday for his first stint with the White Sox in his baseball career.
The third pick in the 2014 MLB Draft was up the majors after just two weeks at Triple A Charlotte where Rodon was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 13 strikeouts. A dominant start caught the eye of the White Sox to make the call up but not necessarily the national media when it came to covering his debut.
Not that Rodon was complaining.
“It want to be under the radar” said Rodon when asked about whether he wanted his debut to have the hype of his crosstown peer.
Unlike Bryant, whose call up featured a tweeted advertisement from Adidas, Rodon’s was a little more simple. He received word from the White Sox while watching funny YouTube videos with his girlfriend and made a call to his parents soon after.
“I called my mom and my dad answered. It was funny. He was the first person I told from my immediate family,” said Rodon. “He was like ‘Oh, wow. That’s great.’ My dad’s a pretty even-keel guy.”
The White Sox are a little more bullish on their prospect. They initially sent Rodon to Triple A to start the season despite having a 3.06 ERA and striking out 21 batters during spring training. They saw enough in just a pair of appearances in Charlotte to make the early call for their young prospect to join the team’s bullpen.
“From a development standpoint over his last three starts including the last one in Arizona, Carlos showed us what we needed to see in terms of his commitment to using his full arsenal,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Rodon. “There was always going to be and there still will be a transition period here at the big league level as he learns big league hitters and what he needs to do in order to maximize his ability with that arsenal.
“We felt now is the time to get him here, get him facing big league hitters, working with ‘Coop’ and our guys here in order to put himself in the best position to succeed.”
Hahn, as many White Sox fans would imagine, expects that to be in a starter’s role at some point in the foreseeable future. When that will be according to the GM will depend on the team’s needs as well as Rodon’s development but the pitcher said he’s comfortable with that role to start out.
While he acknowledges that it’s a different routine to enter the game in relief he is not short of confidence in his own ability to succeed at the Major League level.
“You’ve gotta be that way,” said Rodon when asked if he felt like he should be here. “You’ve got to be confident. I’ve got to be able to pitch for these guys and win.”
Manager Robin Ventura still isn’t sure the capacity which he’ll use Rodon in the early going but did point to his ability to work long stretches as an indication he could enter in the middle innings.
“I don’t want to put anything on him except go out and pitch,” said Ventura. “He has confidence in himself, we have confidence in him. That’s why he’s being brought up. He can compete at this level with the stuff that he’s got. I think eventually there’s going to be some things that he gets to add that make him better.
“But as of right now he has stuff right now to compete out of the bullpen and do very well. Down the road there are going to be some things he’s gonna add to make him better and I don’t want to put it too low on him. I’d rather it be a little bit higher.”
As long as the hype is not, Rodon is just fine with that.