Scott Boras thinks the White Sox were lucky Carlos Rodon was available when they picked third in last June’s amateur draft. But the super agent also feels pretty fortunate for his client, who was promoted to the majors on Monday, to have been picked by the White Sox, a franchise well versed in the development of young pitchers.
Whereas Boras made headlines in March with his belief that Bryant -- who was promoted by the Cubs on Friday -- deserved to start the season in the majors, he sees his two clients in different stages. Not only did Bryant, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft, already have parts of two seasons in the minors to Rodon’s two months, but pitchers and position players are akin to apples and oranges. Boras likes that the White Sox intend to go slow with Rodon’s workload this season.
“The Bryant situation and Carlos’ situation are very different because of the innings issue,” Boras said. “Because of the idea that frankly, you really want this process to get a foundation to it for a pitcher rather than building -- because there’s no repetition in amateur baseball that prepares you for what major league pitchers have to go through. Its part of what they have to go through isn’t about ability, it’s about truly building to durability.”
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By promoting Rodon and starting him in the bullpen, the White Sox get an extremely talented arm and can control his workload at the same time. The White Sox could move Rodon into the rotation at some point this season, but for now they plan to use him in a variety of bullpen roles while giving him more time to work with pitching coach Don Cooper. General manager Rick Hahn considers this the final step in Rodon’s development and it’s a tested method previously used with Chris Sale in 2010-11 and Mark Buehrle in 2000.
“We are dealing with a scarce resource,” Hahn said. “I don’t think anyone could reasonably expect any pitcher a year out of college to make 32 starts and average six innings a start. It will be some level below that in terms of what we will be able to get out of this guy physically and developmentally. A way to maximize that is to start him out in the bullpen, get him some work here, get his feet wet, get him acclimated to the big leagues, everything that goes about being a successful big league pitcher and then make that transition to the rotation when the time is right.”
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Boras is on board with the plan. Rodon has to make the leap from pitching once a week in college to once every five days in the majors. He has a strong lower body, the kind that appears to be built for endurance. But Boras doesn’t just want to see his client thrown into the fire.
“Still the process is one where I don’t in any way think that too many innings too young, being a big leaguer, right there right now and throwing 180 innings your first year of pro ball, I don’t find too many careers where athletes do that that have worked out too well as far longevity goes,” Boras said. “So bringing him along slowly and monitoring his innings and doing things like that, I think it’s a very good plan.”